“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” “We walk by faith, not by sight.” Hebrews 11:1; 2 Corinthians 5:7
I saw the dolphin fins, and punched my paddle deep and rhythmically in the glistening water to catch up with the majestic morning feeders. Delighting in the cool air and dawn’s early light, I rejoiced in the gift of life and smiled at the playful poking and flipping before me. In my periphery I saw a dark shadow barely rise, slowly but briefly gliding along the blue green surface. A manatee. I turned to follow, my heart racing, watching for him to appear again. Paddle, paddle, pause, scan… then I heard his shooshing exhale as he broke the surface with his homely snout, followed by a long glistening body with bumpy skin that displayed its full length before arcing down deep. Amazed, I wanted to hear his breath and see him again, so I paddled in pursuit. A splash of a pelican diving for fish here, a clanging of a flag mast against a metal pole there, nothing would distract me from my keen watch for the remarkable creature to resurface. Although I could not see him, I could follow what I knew of the direction he swam.
Do I as eagerly, as steadfastly, chase after God? He too is marvelous, and more so! Sometimes we see Him clearly, and sometimes we just know the direction He prescribes and follow Him unseen. Sometimes He surfaces obviously in glorious splendor or powerful conviction, and sometimes He quietly calms us with His invisible but palpable presence. Sometimes we hear His breath in the encouragement of a friend, or sense His softening of a harsh or resistant attitude, or see His hand changing a loved one’s heart or moving in response to prayer. But other times all is silent, and we feel dry, our course is clouded. We can still follow. When even His shadow is not visible, God’s word and truths still stand and His Spirit still guides, so I can confidently go into the unknown knowing He goes before me and will direct my ways.
“And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.” “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” Isaiah 30:21; Psalm 32:8
“Immortal, invisible, God only wise, In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
Most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days, Almighty, victorious, Thy great name we praise. Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light, Nor wanting, nor wasting, Thou rulest in might;
Thy justice like mountains high soaring above Thy clouds which are fountains of goodness and love.” ~ Walter Chalmers Smith (1824-1908)
Father, keep me pressing on, plunging in to all You have for me, trusting Your ways and word and direction when I do not see You. May I faithfully follow You, the immortal, invisible, and only wise God, to Whom be glory forever. (1 Timothy 1:17)