Seeing Him Who is Invisible

I’m sorry my thoughts are a little scattered today. I find myself compelled to speak about a variety of things God is revealing to me, and I fear the result is a less than cohesive blog post. But perhaps you can find something in this smorgasbord of thoughts to encourage and edify you.

Manna. That’s my word for this third year in Korea, and also what I’ve chosen to name my new journal which God is faithfully filling up with insights into His heart. This weekend I’ve just been mesmerized by the love of God. I’m realizing in more concrete ways how everything God does is because of His love. The last couple weeks have been kind of hard, really. I wasn’t ready to go home last month and the culture shock was definitely more intense than last year; then after a week I got back into the swing of things and had a really wonderful vacation full of good times with family and friends, so wonderful in fact, that I really wasn’t ready to come back to Korea. But God is good! In the midst of recent trials, He is growing me and encouraging me so much. I’m realizing that God’s commands are as much to bless us as they are to honor and bless Him. I’ve been trying to memorize Romans 12 lately, and I’ve been struck by the first few verses especially:

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:1-2)

First, I was impressed that God would tell us exactly how to know His will. Why do we wonder about that all the time, if the answer is written plainly before us? Then I was struck by the connection between the physical and the spiritual. “Offer your bodies as living sacrifices” is a very vivid picture of something PHYSICAL going on, and yet Paul calls it our “spiritual act of worship.” It seems the physical, outward expression of man, is closely, if not inextricably, connected to his heart and what’s going on inside him. I was then encouraged by the practical way we can be transformed—by the renewing of our minds. There are so many ways to renew our minds—studying God’s Word, praying, praising God, going for walks, spending time in solitude, spending time in fellowship with friends who encourage your faith, listening to sermons (online, in my case), and on and on—that it seems the biggest temptation might be to live a life too comfortably insulated from the world. But what impressed me MOST was the awesome character of God’s will—“his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Good, pleasing and perfect. I want to live in belief of that. Trusting in God’s good, pleasing and perfect will should bolster me to press on in the trying times.

These days I’ve been seriously wondering God’s will, begging Him to make it clear to me so I will know what to do. And I kind of have the mindset that He either wants me to go down a certain road or not go down a certain road. But Friday on my walk, I felt God spoke to my heart and said, “Yeah, I do have a plan for you which either does or does not include that avenue, but what I really want is for you to just look up. Take your eyes off the ground for a second and just look up at my face.” As God has expressed to me before, He wants me to keep my eyes on Him all along life’s journey, not just when I get to an intersection.

Finally, I want to share a short journal entry I wrote recently with paraphrases and excerpts from Hebrews 11 and a couple of my responses. Sometimes I’m tempted to look back longingly at a more comfortable period in my life, or I feel disillusioned with where I’m at, but these verses encourage me to keep walking in faith like Abraham with my focus on the eternal.

“Abraham… when called… obeyed and went… though he didn’t know where he was going.” (Hebrews 11:8)
→ Me too! Now I must keep on with living here…
“He made his home in the promised land… like a stranger in a foreign country. He lived in tents… for he was looking forward to the city with foundations.” (Hebrews 11:9-10)
→ I must make my home here, but keep my eyes on my eternal home. I am not just an alien and stranger here (in Korea), but an alien and stranger on earth.

“If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” (Hebrews 11:15-16)

“He persevered because he saw Him who is invisible.” (Hebrews 11:27b)

Wouldn’t that be a great mantra for life! I want to see Him who is invisible.