John 20:29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
This chapter presents problems when it comes to writing on it devotionally, because there is so much here. I have literally written a book on verse 21! This verse hits me at the moment because it is so strongly echoed in the passage on which I spoke for our Easter service: “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:8-9) Peter was in that room when Jesus said this, and he had seen it play out in many people’s hearts and lives. We are indeed visual beings, with a strong tendency to trust our eyes. Stage magic is entrancing precisely because it plays games with our visual perception. However, modern technology is really attacking that, with “deep fake” videos that look entirely real but are actually computer generated. It used to be said that “the camera doesn’t lie,” but there are now all sorts of ways to make it do so. Paul couldn’t have imagined this sort of thing, but he spoke the solution to it nonetheless: “We live by faith, not by sight.” (2 Cor 5:7) In this era of digital illusions, that’s all the more vital!
Having been taking pictures since I was in elementary school, this is very close to home. I’ve worked as a photo lab technician, back in the analog days, and tricks that required a lot of skill and practice at that point are now accomplished with a couple of clicks in the computer. In the Army I was asked to do a special “portrait” of a rather disliked senior officer who was being transferred, transplanting a monkey’s face onto his official portrait. The result was beautifully framed and presented to that officer by his commanding General at his farewell dinner! It was a grand success, from the standpoint of those who had asked me to do it, but it took several tries and a good bit of time, when today it can literally be done with three or four mouse clicks. Knowing that, I have all the more reason to depend on faith and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, rather than on anything my senses tell me. After all, I have had moments of fellowship with the Lord in which I was more sure of His reality than I was of my own! Just yesterday something happened that seems to indicate a major change in my direction, but I am not to rely on my senses or on my emotions. I am to fix the eyes of my heart on my Lord and not be distracted by the world, visually or otherwise. God has plans for me, but I will not fulfill them by depending on myself in any way. He alone is faithful and powerful, and will bring His will to pass.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Yesterday’s events really stirred me up. Help me indeed rest, relax, and rejoice in You, just as You have told me to do, so that I may hear You accurately and follow You faithfully and fully, to accomplish Your will on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!