When life is going a bit crazy for us or we are facing challenges that terrify us, we can be tempted to wonder if God sees us and whether or not He will leave us in the place where we are. If we are honest, those times will come to most all of us – times when too many things hit at once or we are weak or tired.
When life is humming along pretty smoothly, it can be easy to forget that life is a roller coaster more often than we like. It’s hard, unpredictable (more than we wish), and tests our will, our faith foundation, and our endurance.
We read stories in the Bible of how in times past people experienced such times as that as well, but it can somehow miss the mark of putting us right there in their situation to see how powerful the response of God is. Too often we read the Bible abstractly instead of reading it as a personal message from God to us.
I recently was reading a wonderful biography of Susannah Spurgeon by Ray Rhodes, Jr. entitled Susie: The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon. Most of us know of and have read things of her well-known husband and giant of the faith, Charles Spurgeon, but known little of her. If that is true of you, I would encourage you to read a good biography of her and discover the powerful faith, love, and tenacity of this woman whose life so profoundly impacted her husband during his lifetime as well as extended his influence after his death.
At one point in the biography there was the inclusion of how Susie visualized the passage in Mark 6 after Jesus had fed the 5,000 with the loaves and fish provided by a small boy’s lunch. Jesus has sent the disciples in a boat across the Sea of Galilee while He goes up into the mountain to pray. A storm breaks upon the sea and the boat, but as Susie visualizes it in her writing, she puts you in the scene and allows you to see with fresh eyes what Jesus saw:
“Do you see that small ship on a wind-swept lake? Storm and darkness are fast gathering their forces together, the sea is tossing and raging in passionate war-cry of the tempest, and serious danger is menacing the men in the frail vessel.”
She goes on to describe the disciples: “straining every nerve and muscle to make for the opposite shore, they labour at the oars with almost superhuman strength but they are no match against the tremendous force of the wind and wave which beats them back continually, and threatens to engulf them. Your heart fails you as you look on their perilous position, and you expect every moment that the sea will swallow up its prey.”
Whatever storm of life you may find yourself in can make it easy for you to identify with her description of a passage most of us know well.
Does He see them? He was up on a mountain praying after all.
Does He see us?
Susannah Spurgeon doesn’t leave us on that stormy sea, but moves our gaze as she writes:
“But now turn your gaze land-wards. On the bow of an adjacent hill stands a solitary, but majestic Man. He is intently watching the rowers in that trembling, storm-tossed bark. Not a danger is over-looked, not an effort is unnoticed, not a fear in their hearts does not thrill His soul with pity, and appeal to His tenderest love. He is going to save them, and in the manner of their deliverance will gloriously manifest His own Divine power and goodness. He will presently tread under His feet the waves of that turbulent sea, and compel those fierce gales to quail before Him in silent homage.”
The storm, the fear and uncertainty become very real as Susie Spurgeon “sees” the scene play out in Mark 6 and in that same visualization she reveals a key point: In the midst of the gale and stormy sea the disciples could not see the “majestic Man” on the land looking over them. That truth made it more fearsome and a sharp knife to cut away at hope and faith.
Our challenge is to take what we read and see and remember through Susie’s keen insight that while we wonder if He sees us in our difficulty we miss that the problem is not if He sees, but that we can’t see Him for that time so our belief of his care for us can be shaken just like the disciples in the boat.
You may well say that even if He was there, He didn’t quell the storm in your life and it’s true that He doesn’t always do that. Our challenge is to know and believe He is there even if He does not stop the raging storm, we find ourselves in AND to know He will go with us through that storm. He wants our faith in Him to be unwavering, the foundation upon which all else is built.
“Now faith brings our hopes into reality and becomes the foundation needed to acquire the things we long for. It is all the evidence required to prove what is still unseen.”
Hebrews 11:1 (TPT)
He sees and cares as Susie describes.
Do you see Him with your eyes of faith even though your natural eyes cannot now see Him?