I pray that the light of God will illuminate the eyes of your imagination, flooding you with light. (Ephesians 1:18, The Passion Translation)
“First see, then believe!” I’m watching a talk show and I hear the moderator say these frequently used words. My thoughts wander. What do I see around me and what faith arises from that?
I see an article on the NOS site with the headline: “The churches are emptying rapidly. People are too busy for God.” To make you sad. You would almost believe that the role of the church in the Netherlands has been played out, with a few larger churches as the last convulsion of faith in Jesus.
I see a lot of brokenness in (Christian) families and meet teenagers and young people who have lost their way, feel depressed and sometimes no longer even want to continue living. I’m almost starting to believe that this world is too dark a place, unsafe for a future for my children. If I give in to it, it can really distress me.
I see a critical email in my mailbox. I seem to have said something incorrectly in a sermon or it went wrong. I think about it some and reflect on any mistakes I may have made. A voice deep inside, which I know very well, wants me to believe that I am not competent enough and that I don’t actually amount to much. A self-image that is based on what I do.
To see and believe all these things does not require much effort. It comes towards me and it imposes itself on me. I need to push myself to see different things, which will make me believe God’s truth without denying reality. To be able to do that I need different eyes. Eyes of faith. Sometimes I literally have to learn to look differently.
Last week we had a fantastic time with the students of the Fulltime School in Rotterdam with Gerard and Lydia de Groot. Teaching and practice about the power of the Holy Spirit. During that day, one of the students receives liberation and a touch from God in a special way. When I spoke to her later, I saw that her eyes looked completely different. She told me that she was now literally seeing many more colors and much more perspective in the objects she saw around her.
Elisha was confronted by a large army of King Aram at Dotan. The army surrounded the city. Elisha’s servant was terribly afraid and panicked wondering what to do. After Elisha prayed, the Lord opened the servant’s eyes and he saw that the army of God was much larger. That didn’t change reality, but it did change the perspective.
When I ask God to open my eyes of faith, I see that the church in the Netherlands still has an impact and leaves traces that are visible for eternity. With the eyes of faith I also see a new generation rising up who, with passion for Jesus, brings light into the darkness. With the eyes of faith I see that God has turned His face toward me and is looking at me with love and approval because He loves me very much.
I wake up from my reverie. “First believe, then see, Mr. TV.” I notice that I say it out loud, just a little too loud…
What do you see when God opens your eyes of faith?