Sometimes old and simple truths affect us in new ways. In fact, this seems to be an essential feature of spiritual growth. The passage that was ho-hum last week now plumbs the depths of our souls. We are always re-discovering simple spiritual realities as the Spirit brings new light and depth to old truths.
Here is one of those old truths: God is invisible.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. (Col. 1:15)
To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. (1 Tim.1:17)
We all know this of course but, for me, this old truth has become new.
He is present, just invisible.
My spiritual doubts are almost always connected to God’s invisibility. I worship the God who I have never seen. That is a bit of a problem. How many times have I wanted him to write just a word or two of specific direction in the sky? How many times, when I was in distress, did I ask for a tangible visitation and didn’t get it? Well, this is the reason. God is invisible. He is not playing a game of cosmic hide-and-seek with me. He is present, just invisible.
Now that I am no longer waiting for the Lord to make some direct impression on my senses, I am free to see him as the one whose power sustains all things, draws people to himself, and sanctifies his children. I can’t see the wind, but I can certainly watch trees bend and hear leaves rustle.
He sees me.
This truth is a wonderful aid to my spiritual growth. Sin usually deceives me into thinking that I can’t always be seen by God, but when I remember that God is invisible, I know that he is always with me. How could I voluntarily sin in thought or deed when he is present?
He is near.
Fears can leave me particularly vulnerable. Those are times when I feel as if the Lord is far away because I don’t see the immediate and miraculous alleviation of the source of my fears. But the invisible God who promises to be near is, in fact, especially near.
He is greater than his creation.
Invisible means that God is different from his material creation. Reflections of him abound in other humans, animals, and the physical landscape, but these reflections never capture the totality of the invisible God. He is different from and greater than his creation—that’s why I trust and worship him.
Jesus embodies him.
Who are we that you, O Lord, would reveal yourself to us in the person of Jesus-in-the-flesh? Jesus is the embodiment of the invisible God. This makes me want to read the gospels over and over.
Someday I will see him.
And someday I will see him, the invisible God and Father, face-to-face. I don’t know exactly what that means. I assume it has to do, in part, with my sin being cast off once and for all (finally). But I know this: seeing him face-to-face is a pleasure worth waiting for.
Talk about it.
When an old truth is being impressed upon us, it is time to keep in step with the Spirit. Writing out a list like this is one way to do that. It is a form of practical meditation. It says, “this truth is too precious to put on the shelf for a later day. I want it tattooed on my soul.” After the list is written, the next step is to talk about it with whoever is willing to listen. It is good news that God is invisible.