Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:8-9, NIV
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Ephesians 5:8-10
Missouri, the “Show Me State” got its nickname because of the devotion of its people to simple common sense. In 1899, Rep. Willard D. Vandiver said, “Frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I’m from Missouri. In other words, “Don’t try to feed me a line with words, instead let me see the results.”
“God shows us His presence even when we can’t see Him.” That’s what I thought as I read this verse. Sometimes it’s through remembering, which is what the Biblical word ebenezer signifies. Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us” (1 Samuel:12). Sometimes it’s through praise, which changes our focus to God and his greatness. Sometime it’s through observing what He has created. Sometimes it’s by experiencing a miracle.
I live in faith: a “show-me state” in which God never fails to make His presence known. I haven’t seen Him, but I believe in Him, and He fills me with peace and joy.
THINKING IT THROUGH
By the second century, Christians were often stereotyped as “atheists” because they rejected the multitude of gods, as “cannibals” because they ate Jesus’ body and drank his blood (in communion), and as “incestuous” for statements such as “I love you, sister” or “I love you, brother.” Christianity was viewed as a sect of the Jews, one that didn’t enjoy the political patronage and clout that the Jews maintained. Because of society’s negative views, Christians were a convenient political scapegoat, a fact Emperor Nero took advantage of during devastating fires in Rome.
The Christians Peter was writing to had not seen Jesus, only heard about Him. Yet, in faith they asked the Holy Spirit into their lives so that they would reflect Jesus’ love. As a result, their neighbors were suspicious of the changes they saw in the way they lived. This resulted in persecution and harassment.
- Could they have avoided harassment by blending in a little more? How would this affect their faith?
- Can our neighbors see things in us that make us different? Does this come from our faith?
- Have you ever been dismissed or looked down on because of your faith? What was your reaction?
- Is God so much a part of my every-life that I can trust Him when terrible things happen?
LIGHT SOURCES: FAITH IN THE YET UNSEEN
based on Psalm 6. Kathleen Evenhouse, 2014
The sun is shining
but how can I reflect its rays
when storm clouds of fear and pain
block their passage to
is floating on a
flood of nightly tears;
my gut writhes and clenches
as I cry out to you for mercy and help.
How long, Oh Lord, how much longer must I endure?
Go away, storm! Although you may continue to rage
all around me, wreaking havoc right and left,
you have no place in my heart and soul
for inside His sun always shines—
His light never fails.
what it cannot reach—
I choose not to hear its screaming wind
or watch for crashing waves that tear my life apart,
but to focus instead on the source of my
strength and peace.
I opt to
bask in Your light,
to remember all Your promises,
to center my attention on what You will have for me
no matter what the world and its demons
viciously propel my way.
Your light has always
and will radiate without ending.
The sun is shining,
and I will reflect His light.
PRAY WITH ME
Lord, when the clamor and pressure of warfare is great around us, when we are rejected and harassed by society, may we step into the fortress that you are for us and pull up the drawbridge. Help us remember that it is just the enemy seeking to get us to break cover in panic, and the victory is already yours, and we believe in You. Help us to reject fear and hold onto faith. Give us the strength to dwell, rest, stay, and remain in the secret place of your Holy Spirit. Give us an ebenezer attitude of both heart and mind that enables us to sit in close fellowship with You. Amen.