November 03, 2012

Seeing What Was There All Along

Hebrews 11:1-3

Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
—Hebrews 11:1


Faith is not something we have to do to cause God to bless us. In Hebrews 11 we find a different perspective. Faith is presented not as an effort but as an “assurance about what we do not see.” Through “eyes of faith” we can see something that was already there, whether we’d noticed it or not.

I used to live near the coast of northern California, where there is a lot of fog. When that happens, things seem to change quickly. San Francisco can suddenly vanish: drivers crossing the Golden Gate Bridge may start off with no visible proof that the other half of the bridge even exists. But people who live in this area have learned not to panic simply because they cannot see the whole bridge. People know the bridge is still there; it’s just hidden. Fog doesn’t change our landmarks; it changes our visibility of those landmarks.

With faith, the situation is similar: we have assurance of God’s trustworthiness that was there all along.

There are days when God’s work can be clearly seen in our lives. But other days may not be like that at all. A fog of doubt or a haze of shame may creep in, and suddenly all the clear spiritual realities we have enjoyed can seem to vanish.

Having faith is often like squinting into fog. But that doesn’t mean the realities and trustworthiness of God are not there.

What can you see?

God, we often can’t see you at work. Please help us see by faith what is not visible to us. Amen.

About the author — Ron Vanderwell

Ron Vanderwell recently became the senior pastor of New Life Church in New Lenox, Illinois. He has been a pastor for 22 years, serving as a church planter for the previous 12 years at The Gathering in Sacramento, California, and before that as a pastor in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Ron and his wife, Deb, have three sons: John, Adam, and Jake. Ron shares more of his reflections on “squinting” for God in his blog at

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