Last week I was struggling to create an E-pub document that would be acceptable to a publishing company. I would upload my file, and wait while it went through a verification process, only to be rewarded with a full screen of document errors. This happened several times. The frustrating part was not that my document had errors. I wasn’t offended that something needed to be changed or adjusted in the file, because I expected to have to conform to their specifications. After all, it’s their company, their website, and their programming.
The frustration came in not knowing how to fix my file. The error codes told me what was wrong, but not how to fix it. I googled. I emailed the company. I searched question-and-answer help boards. It took several hours spread over a few days before the issue was resolved (sometimes you have to walk away so your frustration doesn’t turn into anger and make you give up).
How did I fix it? Well, I was sitting at my computer staring at the program that converts my Word documents into E-pub files and suddenly noticed something I had not seen before: the EDIT button. Eureka!! I clicked that button and all the error codes suddenly made sense. I could see exactly what needed to be done and it was super simple. So simple in fact, I was quite embarrassed that it had taken me so long to figure it out.
Actually, I didn’t figure it out at all. My eyes were opened, and I saw the means to the end. Once I found the Edit button, everything else was easy.
Isn’t this true in our spiritual life? There are times when we simply cannot see our way. You may not be a Christ-follower like me. You cannot understand what all the fuss is about when we talk about Jesus. You don’t get it. It doesn’t make sense to you. You know in the deepest part of your soul that there’s more to life than what you’re experiencing, but you do not believe those answers are found in faith in an unseen God. You may have read some of the Bible, but it just sounds like an old book written in an odd language with made-up stories – a fairy tale. No matter how much I try to convince you, you just don’t see it.
We are all spiritually blind before our eyes are opened.
2 Corinthians 4:3-6 – And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
We will never see Jesus for who He is until the Spirit of God opens our eyes. We cannot find that Edit button on our own! We cannot fix our lives and find true joy and satisfaction until God pulls back the scales of unbelief and reveals the truth to us. We will simply go on in our frustration, trying everything, until we are desperate and abandon hope that the answer even exists at all.
Sometimes we do this as believers, too! We find ourselves in a situation that we cannot fix. We don’t know what to do. And even though our brothers and sisters tell us what to do, it’s just not that easy.
We need to ask God to show us.
We need to ask His perspective, to see what He sees.
You know, that Edit button did not just appear on my screen at the time I was frustrated. It was there all along. Built in. Ready to access. Holding the answer. But I couldn’t see it, because I was looking everywhere else for the solution!
Remember Hagar, Abraham and Sarah’s servant girl and surrogate parent? Sarah cast her out and she and her son, Ishmael, were thinking they would surely die in the desert. But God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water right in front of her. The Bible doesn’t say God made that well appear; it was there all the time. But she couldn’t see it until He opened her eyes. (Genesis 21:9-19)
Remember Balaam, the fickle prophet who couldn’t decide which king to serve? He was the original double agent. He had a unique experience with a talking donkey who saved his life. God sent him on a mission but was angry that he intended to betray Israel, so the angel of the Lord stood to block his way. The donkey could see the angel clearly, and balked, refusing to go any further. Balaam grew frustrated and angry and beat the donkey as he tried to make him go forward. In response, God allowed the donkey to speak to Balaam. (There’s no mention in the story that Balaam was surprised by this; he just had a conversation!) He learned that the donkey was trying to protect him, and at that moment, his eyes were opened, and he saw the angel. The angel was there all the time. (Numbers 22:22-35)
Remember Elisha, the prophet of Israel? He was facing a mighty army of Arameans who were angry at him for telling the king of Israel their plans. His attendant was scared to death, sure they were going to die. Calmly, Elisha prayed for God to open the eyes of his servant. What did he see? The mountain was full of angelic armies – horses and chariots of fire – ready to defend them. The angels were there all the time. But he couldn’t see them until his eyes were opened. (2 Kings 6:8-17)
What is it that you are struggling to believe?
What is frustrating you so much you are ready to give up?
What is it that frightens you that you know you can’t defeat?
What is going wrong that you can’t fix?
Ask God to open your eyes.
The answer is already there. You just need His mercy and grace and wisdom to see it. He created you. He made the world you live in. He sees exactly what is going on in your life. And He has the answers you need, but you will never see them unless He opens your eyes.