By Denae Jones –
As a kid, I always chose playing out in the dirt and climbing trees over playing inside with toys. I prefer vacations in the north woods over trips to tourist attractions, stacking wood over cleaning the house, and would choose hiking over shopping any day. My family gets aggravated because I am always stopping to take pictures of a pretty sunrise, or dew on a spider web, or drops of rain on a pine needle, but it’s just part of who I am. Taking time to enjoy the view calms my soul. So, whenever we can manage it, we plan days to hike with the family.
On a trip to Hocking Hill a couple of years ago, we were exploring a path and came to a sign that said, ‘Danger. Keep Out.’ Well. The sign may as well have said, ‘Are You Up For A Challenge?’ It’s like handing a child a wrapped gift and telling them not to open it. Of course we instinctively wanted to see what we were supposed to keep out from. We couldn’t see what was on the other side, so we didn’t believe it was really dangerous.
Since we had kids to keep safe (and set an example about following rules) we turned around, but before we did, they just had to go a few steps past the sign and look around. (They are definitely their mother’s children.) We did hike a different path on the outskirts to check out the other side, and it looked like the path went over a big rock that was in danger of sliding off the cliff. The sign was posted for a good reason after all, but why is it that we are so inclined to see how far we can push the limits? Why is it so difficult to believe what we can’t see?
We can’t see air, but it’s real. We believe it’s there. It’s something we don’t think about much until the instant we don’t have it, and we immediately comprehend how much we can’t live without it. But as necessary as breathing is, we often test the limits, don’t we? Put any two children in a pool and they will have a contest to see who can hold their breath under water the longest. (If I’m not mistaken, a 39 year old man named Stig Severinsen, just set a world record for holding his breath under water for 22 minutes.) We use oxygen tanks to scuba dive along the ocean floor. We run marathons until we pass out. (And by ‘we’ I mean other people. I only run if something is chasing me.) We are constantly seeing how far we can go before we cross over into the danger zone.
People have told me that I’m ‘superstitious’ for believing in God when I can’t see Him. They ask how I can believe in something in which I have no proof. Well, I can’t see the sun at night, but I believe it will shine the next day. I can’t prove that I will be alive tomorrow, but I have faith that I will be. Just like the air is invisible until it moves something around, God is much the same to me. He may be invisible, but I sure can see Him moving all around me! Some days I just sit back and take in the view. A tadpole becoming a frog, a sonogram of a newly forming baby, massive snow-covered mountains, fuzzy puppies, oceans full of amazing creatures. Strangers helping one another, children laughing together, the wrinkled hands of a grandmother. Scientists, athletes, craftsmen, and surgeons with gifts and talents that can only come from God.
Just like the air we breathe, sometimes we don’t think much about God until we really need Him. When things are going well and everyone is happy, we tend to forget to look for Him. But when tragedy strikes, or we fall ill, or feel something is out of our control, what then? Isn’t that when most people cry out to God for help? Sometimes that’s what it takes for us to realize we can’t live without Him. God will let us test the limits of the danger zone if that is what we choose to do. We don’t have to be able to see Him or believe in Him in order for Him to be real. He doesn’t have to prove anything to us. Lucky for us though, He loves us anyway.
Let’s think back to the ‘Danger. Keep Out.’ sign on the hiking trail. Let’s say I believe the danger is real even though I can’t see it. If it turns out that it’s not real, I have lost nothing. It doesn’t make me simple, or superstitious. It keeps me safe and keeps me alive. I win.
But let’s say I didn’t believe what I couldn’t see. I ventured out onto the cliff assuming the danger was not real. If it turns out that the danger was real after all, I fall. I lose. Just something to ponder the next time we are taking in the view.
‘So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.’ 2 Corinthians 4:18
Have a blessed week, friends!