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Eyes To See

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Where is it hard to see God working in your life right now? Can you step back to see ways you are growing in the midst of that challenge?

“… The LORD is with you while you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you. For a long time Israel was without the true God, and without a teaching priest and without law, but when in their distress they turned to the LORD, the God of Israel, and sought him, he was found by them.” (2 Chronicles 15:2-4, ESV)

Close your eyes for a moment and envision a trick of the eyes -- an abstract, patterned image that, when looked at just the right way, reveals a 3D image nestled amidst the pattern. An optical illusion. That’s a stereogram!

When I was a child, I remember being slightly frustrated by how much my best friend loved stereograms. I always struggled to see the obscured image, too fond of clarity to allow my eyes to soften, too impatient to wait for the hidden prize to pop off the page.

To this day, my eyes revolt when I look at a stereogram -- my brain is loath to release the surface-level picture long enough for the hidden image to appear.

Over the past several years, my life has been like the repeating, plain and unremarkable surface pattern of the stereogram. Pregnancy, kids, chores, work, laundry, meals, church -- lather, rinse, repeat. These were all things I was deeply thankful for but not daily thankful for. And in these years, I have gotten through desperate seasons where it seemed God was nowhere to be found.

Feeling utterly abandoned, I begged God to come in obvious ways -- to make my babies sleep, to heal my body, to transform my children into the picture of obedience (or at least grant me superhuman patience), to magically resolve the conflict in my church, to make four broken hours of sleep somehow sustain me like 10 uninterrupted ones.

Instead, God came like the 3D image of the stereogram: obscured and unclear, despite how hard I looked. How was I to keep hoping, believing and trusting when I was blind to Him? And how was I to teach my children to look and see God when I couldn’t even see Him myself?

The open secret of Christianity is that, while God is accessible, God is not always obvious. Even when God walked the earth in the person of Jesus, God was not obvious. Jesus was so shockingly controversial in His claim to be God that He was crucified.

God is loving enough to allow us to choose Him. He does not force His presence upon us in a way that leaves us no alternative but to worship. If we consider the stories of Moses, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Elijah and Daniel (to name a few), we learn that if God appeared to us like He appeared to these long-ago believers, we would have no choice but to fall on our faces before Him and worship. But God desires love and genuine relationship, not forced servitude.

God is also gracious enough to allow us to see Him if we look. He wants to be found. Second Chronicles 15:2b tells us, “If you seek him, he will be found by you …” And it’s true -- once your eyes are accustomed to the search, God is everywhere.

When I could not see God in life’s monotony, God called me to seek Him, gently nudging me to soften my eyes, to see beyond the obvious, to ask what else might be revealed in the repetitive scene of my life.

As I took a closer look, God’s presence not only emerged from the midst of the messy scene; it completely popped off the page. Once I adjusted my perspective, I could not not see God.

He had been there all along, giving shape to the pattern of my world, guiding my steps, growing my character, faithfully answering my desperate prayers. These answers were not the magical fixes I asked for but rather the eternal, soul-strengthening experiences I needed. They were stories I collected to teach my children to see God in the everyday world around them.

Friend, if you seek God, He will be found by you. God sees you, knows you, desires relationship with you and calls you to come to Him. He is hidden in plain sight, just waiting for you to step back, soften your eyes and look again.

Heavenly Father, send forth Your light and Truth. Give us eyes to see You. As we seek You, let us find You. As we find You, let us worship You in spirit and in truth. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

OUR FAVORITE THINGS

Help your little ones see God in the everyday world around them with Our God: A Shapes PrimerYou can find Danielle Hitchen’s children’s series, the Baby Believer primers, at www.BabyBeliever.com.

ENGAGE

For more reflections on theology, parenting, life and liturgy, join Danielle on Instagram or sign up for her e-newsletter.

If you are in need of prayers to keep you seeking God throughout your day, join Danielle at Our Daily Breath.

Enter to WIN your very own copy of Our God by Danielle Hitchen. To celebrate this book, Danielle’s publisher will give away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We’ll randomly select 5 winners and then notify each one in the comments section by Monday, October 18, 2021.}

FOR DEEPER STUDY

Psalm 43:3, “Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling!” (ESV)

Where is it hard to see God working in your life right now? Can you step back to see ways you are growing in the midst of that challenge? We’d love to hear your story in the comments!

© 2021 by Danielle Hitchen. All rights reserved.

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