The temperature had dropped almost to the point where we could see our breath. The sun had set a couple of hours ago, so we bundled up and headed outside. We climbed aboard the bus, snuggled in and prepared to see something amazing.
We were on a girl date.
My lovely friend Sara graciously invited me to be her "date" last weekend to a Christmas party event hosted by her work company. Since her beloved was gone to Ranger school and mine was essentially nonexistent per Basic Training Red Phase Drill Sergeant duties, I was totally up for an adventure. After all, us army wives gotta stick together!
So I was Sara's date to a "romantic" weekend getaway at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, GA. Ok, so it really wasn't THAT romantic, but it sure was fun. We determined that having a two-night girl slumber party was just what we needed to recharge our hearts and reconnect with God. Probably the highlight of the weekend (other than awesome God time) was the Fantasy of Lights tours we took through the gardens on an open air trolley. (Close second: when I crashed my mountain bike. I'm not coordinated. But that's another blog post.)
Fantasy in Lights was awesome. (See first paragraph for set-up details.) Long story short, millions of Christmas lights (8 million to be exact) are arranged and displayed throughout 12 different scenes in Callaway Gardens. All are timed to music and use 32 total miles of extension cords. Totally worth it.
But as usual, God didn't just take us on a "date" to show us cool lights and eat good food. He was at work during our time at Callaway. Yes, he helped us to relax, rest and fellowship... but He also made me think. (Dangerous... maybe that's why I crashed when riding the bike?) When we checked into the hotel on Friday night, there was a sign out front advertising the Fantasy in Lights tour. On the post it said "SEEING IS BELIEVING."
Apparently, God was at the forefront of my mind and immediately thought "No it's not!" Those words "Seeing is believing" made me think of faith... or rather, what faith is not. All throughout the Bible we hear of verses talking about living by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7) or that faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1.)
I continued to think about the concept of seeing is believing when related to faith for the rest of the evening and was led to re-study the story of dear ol' doubting Thomas during my Bible study/quiet time the next morning.
"Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”
A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
I would love to scoff and say that Thomas was simply an unfaithful epic fail of a disciple... but THAT would make me a hypocrite. Because I am my own version of Thomas. I am gonna take a guess that we all are to some degree. As humans, we are inclined to want to have tangible proof before we believe something... we desire to SEE it to BELIEVE it. But Jesus Himself said "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
Are there areas in your spiritual life that you are trying to walk by sight and asking to "See it to believe it?" We can't test the Lord... Sure we can ask for signs and guidance (that's what He is there for!) But we also must believe that He WILL come through for us, "tangible proof" or not.
Today, let's think about ways that we can certain of what we do not see. God's promises are steadfast. We don't have to see it to believe it... we just have to believe it then experience it. Take in it. Love it. Revel in it. Rejoice in it! We don't have to see the light to walk in it... we just have to believe it is there.
Believing is seeing with the heart,
"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