Sometimes I muddle around looking for something but when it refuses to let itself be found I play my ace in the hole. “Phyllis, do you know where I put …” (You can insert a ton of lost things into this blank).
If she doesn’t know I’m in trouble.
Quite often, though, I look again where I had just searched and voila, there it is. Kind of like reverse magic. Now you don’t see it—now you do!
Some of you are thinking that it’s my grey hair that causes this but actually it’s been going on a long time. Mama used to say, “If it had been a snake it would have bitten you.”
I’m comforted by the fact that I’m not the only one. Mary Magdalene stood before Jesus in the garden and thought he was the gardener. After all Jesus was dead. She had seen it happen. Her heart and her hopes had been ripped away.
Then He spoke her name and the lights went on! “Mary.”
He was there all the time but she couldn’t “see” Him until her eyes were opened.
Two disciples of Jesus trudged towards their village of Emmaus. They had heard the resurrection stories but miracles like that only happened in fairy tales, they thought. When Jesus came alongside and spoke with them their hearts burned (we need to be people whose hearts burn when we talk about God and His ways).
Later as he was blessing and distributing the food at the dinner table they recognized Him. The light went on. He had been there all the time but they didn’t see Him.
What changed for the followers of the Lord?
The situation hadn’t changed. Jesus had been present the whole time, they just didn’t realize it. God’s purposes hadn’t changed. The Father had raised His Son from the dead providing for the salvation of lost men and a host of other wonderful blessings. That was true whether they realized it or not. He had things in control and they didn’t even know He was there.
What changed? They changed.
With the revelation of the presence of Jesus a whole new attitude animated them. Instead of plodding, they were running back to tell the others. After the infilling of the Holy Spirit, they streamed forth to rock the whole world, telling them that Jesus had risen and that they had seen Him.
When your attitude changes into faith your definition of “possible” changes.
Ladies, would you permit me a football illustration? Thanks.
Years ago I worked for a small-town newspaper and one night my assignment was to cover a high-school football game.
I wasn’t a fair observer because it was my little brother’s team (with a record of 4-5 at the time) against the team that was rated number one in the State in their classification.
The Outlaws ran out on the field like the Green Bay Packers—big, confident, powerful. My brother’s team had a lot of younger players who were going to be good but they hadn’t shown too much of it that year.
During the first possession the Outlaws marched down the field and it looked like the rout was on. But, somehow my brother Charley’s team kept them from scoring. Then the Hornets took the ball and drove it back up the field against their more experienced foes.
They didn’t score then but as they advanced the ball you could see their confidence grow. “We can do this!” Later, they scored on a strange play and you could see the difference in the way they played afterwards. The Outlaws began to have misgivings as they pounded against a line that was supposed to break but wouldn’t.
I’d watched Charley’s team most of the year but that night it was hard to recognize those younger players. They began to play with a passion and desperation when they realized they could win.
(Hey, you ladies, wake up there. I’m still talking!)
Neither of the teams left the field the way they ran onto it. When the younger team began to believe they could win, they started to play like it. And they came out on top!
And when those first Christians had the revelation that Jesus was indeed alive and filling them with His power, they didn’t “play” the same way either. They became winners.
Maybe you’ve been holding on for a long time and you’re not seeing many sparks that prove that God is alive for you in this trial. Look to Him. He decides when to reveal Himself. When you have that “flash” of recognition and you know He’s working for you, you know He’s there. You sense His presence.
Your way of looking at the situation changes–and you change.
But, even if you haven’t had that revelation yet, please remember: Jesus was there all the time. They just didn’t see Him.
And in your case, He’s already there whether you see Him or not.
Let God open your eyes.
“It may be said without qualification that every man is as full of the Spirit as he wants to be. He may not be as full as he wishes he were, but he is most certainly as full as he wants to be.” (A.W. Tozer)