Trusting God’s “eyesight” is one of the greatest challenges for Christians in our culture. That’s because we live in an age of science – an age of concrete information – an age of “show me before I believe.” But we can’t see what God sees. God insists that we trust Him by Faith, not by sight.
Sometimes, trusting God seems easy. When my life is on fire and I have nowhere else to turn, I find it natural to close my eyes to the things around me and follow Christ. I need to be rescued . . . and at that moment I don’t require answers.
At other times, however, trusting God’s eyesight presents a stiff challenge. For instance, when God calls me to walk a certain path even though I can’t see the end; or when I encounter a precept in Scripture that challenges my thinking; or when I read a Biblical command that I really don’t want to obey.
In these moments, trusting God’s vision more than my own impulses takes incredible strength. That’s why so many of us lose heart.
So how can we learn to trust God more than we trust our eyes? My Bible Study groups are currently studying the life of David, and this week we read through 1 Samuel 16. In this chapter, Samuel wrestles with this issue.
Here are three observations from his story that may help us in ours:
1) By nature, we judge people/situations by appearances. When Samuel walked into Jesse’s house, his eyes scanned the room for the next king. They immediately landed on Eliab, the eldest. Tall, muscular, handsome, and warrior-like, Eliab looked like a king. As soon as Samuel saw him, he assumed he had found his man.
Most of us make the same type of judgments as Samuel. No matter how many times we have been burned, we still form our opinions of people based on what we see on the surface.
- What do they look like?
- What kind of car do they drive?
- How big is their house?
- How important is their job?
Why don’t we look deeper? Partly because we can’t. When I encounter a new person or a new situation, I judge the surface because my eyes can’t penetrate deeper. My perspective is limited.
2) God Sees What We Can’t See. Unlike ours, God’s perspective is UNLIMITED. We measure healthy eyesight as 20/20. That means you can see at 20 feet what a healthy person sees at 20 feet.
God’s vision is infinity. When He looks at a path, He sees every inch in one glance. When He looks at our circumstances, He sees how they will end. When He looks at a person, He goes past the outside and judges what we cannot see.
That’s why God corrected Samuel in 1 Samuel 16: 7: “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
3) To Understand Why, Submit and Apply. Because God can see what we can’t see, we can trust Him to lead us. That makes sense, but it still requires great faith.
After all, God does not necessarily tell us everything that He sees from His vantage point. He makes observations and gives directions, but He insists that we trust both His vision and His motives.
In one of his earliest sermons, Andy Stanley once taught his audience to repeat this saying: “To understand why, submit and apply.”1 The meaning is simple – sometimes we can’t understand why God asks us to do things until after we have done them. We can’t see far ahead, but looking back, we (sometimes) understand His rationale.
The next time you find yourself struggling with something that God says in Scripture, ponder the difference in vantage point. God sees from a place apart from time. Our wisdom is foolishness to Him, because His eyes see things that ours cannot see.
So trust Him. That does not mean that you follow Him “blindly”. After all, He has shown us everything we need to trust Him. Fix your eyes on Him, and allow Him to guide the way.
Question: Have you ever struggled to trust God? How did you deal with it? Your story could help someone else. Leave a comment below.
1 – Andy Stanley talks about this in his book Communicating for a Change, which he wrote wit Lane Jones. For more information about the book click HERE.