Even When We Cannot See
At the moment it feels like the world has gone crazy, and we’re all living out the Revelation of what John’s ink-stained hands penned thousands of years ago. Perhaps the finale is drawing near? Who knows. Maybe. Regardless of all the perspectives and points of view as to how John’s apocalyptic themes and visions will play out in our modern world, the overarching element that drives his narrative in the book of Revelation is one of overcoming. So, how can we live out a better life that has the strength to rise above the chaos? How can we use the obstacles that we seem to be tripping over to fulfil the purposes of God in our lives? Well, that kind of lifestyle requires one thing. It requires us to cry out to God even when we cannot see.
I don’t know about you, but I am well aware of the fact that if I watch the news for just a few minutes, I find that my thoughts slowly start to sink into the twilight and gloom of the images that play out before my eyes. It can be all too easy for our feeble minds to get caught up in the swirl of toxic thoughts that allow fear to rule our actions, bringing with it a selfish and cowardly spirit instead of confidence that God is still good and He’s still on the throne regardless of what we see around us.
Hmmm, great in theory, difficult in practice because we believe that we are unable to meet all the disciplines required for us to lead the overcoming life. So, we toss all that disciplinary, yucky stuff into the too-hard basket and hope for the best. However, “Christianity was never meant to be a life of disciplines. It was always meant to be a life of passion” as Banning Liebscher points out.
I like the sound of that. No more striving or struggling with disciplines we seem to miserably fail at. Just living passionately for Him. Even when we cannot see any hint of light through this present darkness, if we choose to position and posture ourselves in God’s presence, we are able to draw on His strength to pull us through whatever it is we are facing so we can truly become the overcomers that the Apostle John speaks of in the book of Revelation.
Even when we cannot see we can lean on God for His strength. What does that mean exactly? Well, the story of Samson is a classic Biblical account of how God can work His purposes even though our human failings, deficiencies, and shortcomings can cause us to stumble.
As we know, Samson’s great strength came from his long hair, however, Samson’s kryptonite was a woman named, Delilah, and with the help of the Philistine rulers, she managed to steer Samson’s attention away from his purpose, leaving him destitute of the vision he was born for. The Philistines wanted Samson dead because he had made them suffer. So, they hatched a plan with Delilah to learn the secret of Samson’s strength. “If you charm him into giving you the secret of his great strength so that we can overpower and capture him, each one of us will give you 1,100 pieces of silver.” (Judges 16:5)
Bit by bit Delilah finally managed to shift Samson’s vision of his mission and manoeuvre his focus onto her one question. Where does your strength come from? “She continued to ask him, day after day…he was tired of it…Samson told her the truth. “…If my head were shaved, my strength would vanish. I would be weak and no different from any other man.” (Judges 16:16-17)
With Samson’s strength gone the Philistines seized and held him, gouged out his eyes, bound him with bronze shackles and set him to work in a grinding mill. Not only did Samson lose his vision of his supernatural purpose but he lost his sight in the natural. Since birth Samson had been set apart, but now he was no different from any other man. However, the plot twist comes while Samson is in prison. His hair begins to grow back.
In the IVP Bible background commentary of the Old Testament, it mentions that in the festival of sacrifice to the Philistine’s god, Dagon, they brought Samson out to entertain them. The cruel Philistines ‘entertainment’ was to put obstacles in Samson’s way so they could torment and laugh at him as he stumbled over the obstacles because of his blindness.
However, with his hair grown, Samson was determined to finish his purpose. So, with no strength and with no vision, Samson leaned against the supporting pillars and cried out to the Lord to fill him with His strength one last time. God listened to Samson’s prayer and the building collapsed on the rulers and all the people that were in it. ‘O Lord God, remember me, I pray! Strengthen me, I pray, just this once, O God, that I may with one blow take vengeance on the Philistines for my two eyes!” Samson used the obstacles that were put in his way to seal his enemy’s fate.
Samson positioned himself before God, even though he had no strength, even though he couldn’t (literally) see. He became an overcomer of his circumstances because he chose to focus on God which helped him to rise above the chaos that surrounded him. Sacrificing himself, Samson leaned on God to give him His strength so he could finish what he started.
Each day we get an opportunity to focus on the purposes of God even though we feel like our strength has gone and we cannot see how it’s all going to work out. Our enemy laughs as we stumble over the obstacles he puts in our way and is clearly entertained by our perceived ‘blindness’ to his tactics. But like Samson, if we chose to position ourselves before God and cry out to Him we will carry out the mission we were born for. Like Delilah, people will keep asking you, “Where does your strength come from?” and you can tell them,
Even when we cannot see, God is with us
Even when we cannot see, God is our strength
Even when we cannot see, God fulfils His purposes in our lives
Sadly, some people choose to see the negatives in the swirling chaos that surrounds us but the revelation of the times we are living in only reveals to us that John’s apocalyptic writings are to be viewed with an attitude that God is bigger than any circumstances. And no matter what happens, we, as believers will be the overcomers in the end because of God’s strength, even when we cannot see!
Recapping over the story of Samson, have you ‘seen’ a new revelation with fresh eyes?
I pray today, that even though we feel as though we have lost our strength and cannot see, I pray we will keep putting our trust in You Lord. We will ask for Your strength, Lord, and we will keep positioning ourselves in Your presence, even though we feel like we’re fumbling around the dark sometimes. And Lord, we will focus on Your light to help us to refocus our vision into the plans and purposes you have called us to do because You have called us to become overcomers! Amen.