As we were drawing to the close of a precious testimony time at the end of an Ellel course recently, a man said that during the previous week he’d been sharing his faith with a friend, whose response to him was, “But how can you believe in God when He’s invisible? How do you know He’s real? You can’t see Him”. The man had been pondering this. He’d thought about the words Jesus spoke to Thomas, ‘Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed’, but it wasn’t settled in his heart - until the moment he heard the testimonies. He said that, as he listened to one person after another telling of how God had powerfully met with them and touched and healed their hearts, and looking at their radiant faces, he got his answer. “We can see God!” he said, “We see Him in the faces of those who have received His love and healing. He shines out!”
It was a wonderful revelation and so true. God does reveal Himself – through His creation, His Word and through His Son Jesus – but also through us! Yes, us! He longs for each one of us to know a greater measure of His love – that amazing love we celebrate coming down at Christmas – and to reflect it to others. There must be so many who are like this man’s friend, saying they don’t believe in God because they can’t see Him. And when we, as Christians, are struggling with very real, painful issues, like rejection, abandonment, isolation, loneliness or worthlessness, it can be hard to grasp that God wants to reveal Himself through us. But it’s important to remember that, although many of our struggles today can be rooted in the past, there are choices we can make today to actively receive God’s love and healing so that, incredibly, something of who God is begins to shine out from our faces to others, and they begin to see Him.
Of course there can be blockages to this: one of the biggest is when we put our own demands and limitations on God for how He’s got to meet with us and heal us, and in the process excuse ourselves of the part we need to play. I remember being challenged on this very thing, “Julie, are you putting conditions on your healing – where it happens and who needs to be there?” The truth was: I was! And because I was putting restrictions on God I was stuck in a passive place of misery, frustration, loneliness and depression that certainly wasn’t reflecting the character and nature of God to anyone. Being challenged wasn’t easy, but now I look back to it with gratitude, because it helped me understand that God wanted to meet me with His love and healing in a myriad of ways that I could never have thought of or imagined.
We long for every person to see what it really means that Jesus left His place in Heaven to come down to us on earth. So especially over this Christmas period I encourage you, in the midst of your personal struggles and difficulties, to allow God to be the lifter of your head, so that you can be upward and outward looking. It’s amazing when we reach out in love to others – sometimes it only takes a smile – how God blesses us back – often through them. It’s amazing how, when we begin to thank Him for the things we can thank Him for, and others too, something changes on the inside. There’s a shift from frustration to appreciation. And it’s amazing, when we stop being closed to God doing it His way, how He surprises us with incredible touches of His love and healing that are far better than any ways we could have thought of. Our faces do begin to shine, miraculously reflecting something of the wonder of who Almighty God is, to others.
Prayer: Thank You, Father God, that because of Your amazing love for us You sent Jesus to save us from our sins, to heal our wounds and to restore and redeem our lives. You sent Him that this could be accomplished in my life and I’m so grateful. I’m sorry for putting limits on the ways You have wanted to heal and restore my life. Please help me to be open to You and allow You to do it Your way. Please help me this Christmas time, even in the midst of all that I’m walking through, to trust You and to look for opportunities to share the love You’ve put in my heart with others, so they might catch a glimpse of You in me. Thank You, Father God, In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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