By Rebecca Vickery
“Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen.” “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully, just as I have been fully known.”
The invisible world has been on my mind a lot lately. The rains that have fallen over the last few months have started to make visible an invisible mold issue. Our homes are filled with invisible mold spores that can be perfectly harmless if you are of good health. Rain and mild temperatures can make mold spores increase more and more until your home might bear witness to the invisible things and make them become suddenly visible. If you happen to have underlying health issues, those invisible spores can cause a host of unpleasantness.
For years and years, I suffered from an invisible illness that was destroying from within, but I looked perfectly healthy a lot of the time. The first time I was able to visibly see physical evidence for my pain, my husband had gone with me to the ultrasound. At first, the ultrasound didn’t reveal much, but when it was switched to a color Doppler, that’s when we saw the fireworks show. The doctor said, you see all of those bursts of color? Those are your blood vessels basically doing things they aren’t supposed to do. There was a visible explanation for the tremendous amount of pain that I was enduring.
We spent over a year trying to fix it, only to find that the hormonal deficit was caused by yet another invisible underlying issue. Much like I was doing in therapy and in Celebrate Recovery, we were digging deep to find the places where disfunction had taken root and surrendering the brokenness to God.
Treatment for Lyme, and treatment for recovery were both messy. Doing a Step Study in Celebrate Recovery felt a bit like open heart surgery, where your insides feel laid bare and messy. The process was uncomfortable, like taking care of the Lyme has been. There have been times with both where I have wanted to give up and say, this uprooting, this unpleasantness is worse than the disease or disfunction. At times I wanted to give up on the idea of being whole or well here. After all, I would be all better in heaven. I knew there was a forward to look towards.
But I have experienced God’s tender mercies as He would not allow me to settle for broken and messed up. His ways are higher than our ways, his thoughts are higher than our thoughts. I have been to so many places where I cried out and told Him, I do not know the way to walk, but if you lead me, I will continue. Like stumbling around in the dark, it is much easier to walk if you are taken by the hand of someone who can see that which you cannot.
The invisible isn’t always the dark side of things. There are spiritual forces of darkness, yes. But there are invisible things of great beauty that we have not yet begun to behold. We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. I have not seen them. But I believe they are there. The Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis make a spectacular light show of that which would otherwise be invisible to the naked eye. Even though we cannot see with eyes what is always right in front of us, our hearts hope and long for a future that is unseen. Faith keeps the momentum forward as we run towards a prize we have yet to attain.
The Bible says that Jesus is the image of the invisible God. The character of Jesus made visible the character of God. The stories that Jesus told about Shepherds, good fathers, mercy, tenderness, all prompt us to move forward in intimacy with the God who created us. We are invited into a close personal relationship with our Creator not just AFTER this life, but as we navigate (sometimes blindly) through it. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no heart has imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him.” Lord, open the eyes of our hearts that we might catch a glimpse of the beauty that you have prepared for us.