Things Not Seen
By Gary Piper of Fort Gratiot, MI, USA
Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which Jesus Christ will give you. For it is on him that God has set the Divine seal…This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom God has sent. —John 6:27, 29 NRSV, adapted
Years ago there was a country western song that went something like this, “If you work your fingers to the bone, all you’ll have is bony fingers.” Jesus wants us to have more than just bony fingers—he wants us to have life, his life!
For me, John 6:29 is one of the cornerstones on which I live my life. There are times, I believe, we fail to understand how important faith is to us. For me faith is the lifeline that tethers me to Jesus. The author of Hebrews writes, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).
I find one of the most important lessons on faith for me in Mark’s Gospel. Jesus told the father of a sick child that anything is possible for someone who has faith! Right away the boy’s father shouted, “I do have faith! Please help me to have even more” (Mark 9:23–24).
The man in the story is me, and the story is telling me that alone, my faith is not enough. When we are faithful to Jesus he is faithful to us. This reminds me of one of my favorite writings, “Footprints in the Sand,” by Mary Stevenson, paraphrased here:
So I said to the Lord, “You promised me, Lord, that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there has only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?”
The Lord replied, “When you saw only one set of footprints, I was carrying you.”
Prayer for Peace
Ever-present God, how can we not know of your presence when we look for you? Sometimes we do not see the deeper imprint of your care. Sometimes shallow trivia distracts us and blurs the signs of your love. Often our vision is narrow and we don’t see the whole picture of shalom.
Quiet and center yourself. Ask for God’s healing and guidance as you enter this time of prayerful presence. Close your eyes, breathing deeply and calmly. Imagine that you are floating in a beautiful sea of light that rises and falls with each cycle of your breath. The golden light of this sea buoys you up, so you float effortlessly. Waves of light carry and wash over you, bringing wholeness and peace. Rest in the sea of God’s love; then offer a prayer of gratitude.
Today, God, I will improve my vision by narrowing my focus on what matters most.