1 Peter 1:8 – Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory
This beautiful piece of writing from Paul is one the most reassuring things I’ve read in scripture for a few days. How incredibly logical is it? we believe in a God we cannot see, and not only that, we love him and experience a tremendous joy in the process of this seemingly ludicrous act.
We did a survey recently in a school in which one question asked the students why many people didn’t believe in God anymore; the answer that regularly came back was a powerful portrayal of our culture and the approach to God that they assume. Many answers looked something like this; people don’t believe because they can’t see God.
Of course Christians who know the scriptures are disgusted by this answer because they know God has made himself known through what has been made and that an inherent basic knowledge of righteousness has been placed inside us to remind us that we are created beings and the subjects of a righteous God’s creation – to put it mildly. This is a multifaceted discussion wading through the ways that God reveals himself to the world, but I won’t go there this time. Let’s look at the new big excuse; I can’t see him!
As a Christian I am so grateful that Paul wrote this because it reassures me of the nature of my faith. The truth is I believe in a God who showed himself 210 decades ago, he lived a short life, told some incredible things to some ordinary people, who retold the story as he told them, and so for the last 210 decades the story has been preserved and has professed He is God’s revelation to man for their salvation and redemption in this life and the next. But the truth is, none of us have seen Him (Jesus) but we believe and stake our lives on it. The insecurity that Christian’s experience happens when they feel they need to “show people” their God. The bible bluntly says that we serve a God we can’t see, yes there will be living proof and transformation because he is a living God, but think about this. The greatest rebellion to ever strike our planet came when humans being were in closest sight of God, and whilst he took walks in his creation with his human counterparts. This implies deep intimacy and a level of visual reality to God, yet in the midst of such clarity occurred the foulest of rebellions that has happened in human history.
Could it be that our inexpressible joy to be had is not based on some visual or scientific proof – all of which are abundantly available – but rather on a higher more real truth, Jesus alive and risen, seated at his Father’s right hand interceding for us and sending his spirit of joy upon his followers to attest to a truth that supercedes visuals and transcends the eyes, even in the presence of a world of beauty created by him and in the presence of a people transformed and indwelt by him, our joy depends not on sight but on faith. Let’s ponder this; an unseen God, provable yet invisible, when visible deniable, unprovable yet believable, invisible yet lovable, invisible yet God, when visible rejectable…