As I often do, I awakened this morning around 2 with thoughts of people needs filling my mind: a young man found near dead from heroin now in rehab, a friend facing new challenges when he goes home tomorrow after months in the hospital, another friend who is losing hope … and the awful state of the Church. I am thankful for my Friend, my God, with Whom I can share those things, One who never tires of my cries. As I prayed for the Church, the Spirit moved me to pray for new sight, healing from spiritual blindness. I was prompted to pray that the fog of half-truth would be dispelled by the revelation of the Truth!
Did you know it is possible to see without comprehending? When I visit an art gallery, I see the paintings but, lacking insight, I need a guide to truly understand the uniqueness of the artist. Where I just see a picture, one with insight sees so much more. Many people are stumbling through life today in much the same way. They see but they do not understand. This is particularly true of so many Christians who do not see the current state of crisis in America (yes, the world, too) for what it really is. This is not just a political crisis, nor is it just a pandemic.
We are living in an era when God and good are under siege, not by government, but by the prince of darkness and his minions. Without insight, we will spend our strength and resources on things of small consequence, while the Light dims and the people wander in the dark. The disease is sin, the cure, the Gospel of Christ. Poverty, racism, division, war, hatred, and greed are the symptoms, not the sickness. Our first mission as the people of God is to bring people to Christ where they can find, by faith, LIFE and transformation from the inside out.
Good people often do not ‘get it.’ Jesus was traveling to Jerusalem, knowing full well His destiny was the Cross and the work of redemption for all humanity. He explained why there was reason for hope to the men who had spent three years watching Him do miracles, listening to Him teach God’s truth.
“They were now on the way to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. The disciples were filled with dread and the people following behind were overwhelmed with fear. Taking the twelve disciples aside, Jesus once more began to describe everything that was about to happen to him in Jerusalem. “When we get to Jerusalem,” he told them, “the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die and hand him over to the Romans. They will mock him, spit on him, beat him with their whips, and kill him, but after three days he will rise again.” (Mark 10:32-34, NLT) Apparently they had heard these words many times but they could not comprehend the truth! They just could not see beyond the moment.
A few days later Jesus was crucified. Did those disciples gather to wait in faith, reminding one another that He would rise again while they prayed for the dawn of Resurrection morning? No, they didn’t. They just could not see it. They huddled in terror, their hearts broken, their hopes gone. Before we criticize them for their lack of faith and insight, I want to remind us of our own tendency to respond to crisis in much the same way.
We, too, have the promise of the victory of the Church. Did not Jesus tell us that “I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you lock on earth will be locked in heaven, and whatever you open on earth will be opened in heaven.”? And still, we whine, cry, and retreat as we bemoan the impossibility of doing God’s word in this ‘terrible time.’
The Gospel of Christ is the true hope of the world.
No, not the re-opening of our church buildings or the restart of our various programs, though those are good things.
No, not the survival of church organizations, though that is usually a good thing, too.
In this time Jesus continues to invite us, as He did His disciples in Samaria, to “Open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” (John 4:35, NIV) Will we pray and work, taking every opportunity to wisely and winsomely share the love and life that is found in Christ alone?
Even more personally, may I ask you if YOU understand your real spiritual condition?
Are you so focused on praying for temporal blessings, so intent on making life more comfortable, that you cannot see the state of your heart?
The majestic Lord of the Revelation came with words for Christians blinded to their real issues. I find these words painfully true of our American church. “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Laodicea. This is the message from the one who is the Amen—the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation: “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, I will spit you out of my mouth! You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. And also buy white garments so you will not be shamed by your nakedness. And buy ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. I am the one who corrects and disciplines everyone I love. Be diligent and turn from your indifference. “Look! Here I stand at the door and knock. If you hear me calling and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal as friends. I will invite everyone who is victorious to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on his throne. Anyone who is willing to hear should listen to the Spirit and understand what the Spirit is saying to the churches.” (Revelation 3:14-22, NLT)
Christian, would you see Jesus? What Jesus are you looking for? The Jesus of social justice? The Jesus who builds walls? The Jesus who promises prosperity? The Jesus of a political party?
OR, will you see JESUS, Son of God, Savior of the World, Who calls us to ‘come, take up your cross and follow Me?”
I do not know who said, it but it is worthy truth. “There is none so blind as he who will not see.” We will never be able to make another understand or accept something if he is too stubborn to listen, unwilling to learn, refusing to take notice. We can present facts and try to reason but for those with minds that are already made up – “There is none so blind as he who will not see.”
So, here is the word from the Word.
“I counsel you to buy from me … salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.”
(Revelation 3:18, NIV)
(Sing the prayer!)
Open the eyes of my heart Lord
Open the eyes of my heart
I want to see You
I want to see You
To see You high and lifted up
Shining in the light of Your glory
Pour out Your power and love
As we sing holy holy holy
Holy holy holy
Holy holy holy
Holy holy holy
I want to see You
Paul Baloche © 1997 Integrity’s Hosanna! Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing (Integrity Music, David C Cook)) CCLI License # 810055