Believing Is Seeing
by Mark Fulmer
Praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord, my soul.
I will praise the Lord all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
Do not put your trust in princes,
in human beings, who cannot save.
When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
on that very day their plans come to nothing.
Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord their God.
He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them—
He remains faithful forever.
He upholds the cause of the oppressed
and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free,
the Lord gives sight to the blind,
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the foreigner
and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
but He frustrates the ways of the wicked.
The Lord reigns forever,
your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord.
"Are you blind?!?," he screamed. It wasn’t a rhetorical question. "Is that how they teach you at your hospital?!" A pool of angry spittle formed on his lower lip. I had nothing to say. As the resident, I better have nothing to say. The inquisitor was a staff pediatric radiologist, famous for his bibliography and infamous for his temper, and now that temper exploded onto me with unbridled fury. He threw the images onto the floor and charged into the room where the baby lay.
The procedure was simple, done dozens of times a week. The baby was in the x-ray room; the tube was in her nose and down into her stomach. Then the barium went down to be sure the swallowing tube and stomach were clear. Routine. But in an instant, with me watching, the barium came out of the stomach and filled the lower half of the baby's right lung. Ninety seconds later, I handed the images to "Dr. C," and the barrage began. "Are you blind!?!"
Well, in the most rudimentary, physiologic sense, no. Of course not. But in the deeper, more important sense, yes. I was blind. In that moment, faced with an uncommon occurrence and an unsuspected diagnosis, I was blind to the reality before me. I was, as it were, blind at noonday, unable to comprehend what I was seeing.
Think about that now in a spiritual sense. Recall how often in Scripture we hear of God restoring sight to the blind, of darkness being vanquished so sight is renewed. Blindness that was real and congenital was healed by the Messiah. But we also read of that deeper and more important sense. We read that many people saw Jesus, many people watched the miracles, but far fewer actually beheld His glory. Only some actually saw Jesus with unblinded eyes.
So what does that mean? How do we think about this clear-eyed, faith-filled sight?
Well, first and most importantly, sight that truly sees is given to us. Always. We cannot strain to see through the darkness or tilt our heads in the dusk of unbelief. We see because Jesus, by His Spirit, makes us see. Think of those fellows strolling to Emmaus. They only saw the Lord when He revealed Himself in the breaking of the bread. Mary was looking right at Him, then He called her by name, and she saw.
Secondly, when we really do see Jesus, as He reveals Himself to us, we see everything else differently. We see the foolishness of all the enticements of the world. We see, at last, that “all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh, and the desires of the eyes, and the pride of possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:16-17). We also see that so very much of our lives is wasted in the nowhere land between the "if" and the "then." "If I can get that promotion, then...". "If my wife would just_____, then..." There are a million of those "if/then" traps that hold us captive to the value system of this passing world.
But when we see Jesus, in all His Glory, in all His love, and in all His resurrection power, we come to know that He's already managed the "thens" for us. He's already taken care of it. His finished work means we can learn to see the world the same way Paul did. The murderously brilliant, blinded rabbi whose scaly eyes were opened to see.
”Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:4-9
That is emphatically not the way the world sees things. Ask the Lord to open your eyes and know that, truly, believing is seeing.
Soli Deo Gloria
P.S. The baby was fine.