Seeing the Unseen
Updated: Aug 5, 2022
“In him we were also chosen…” (Ephesians 1:11)
Mr. Struthers told me I should run for president. He was serious. I was stunned.
As a 6th grader I was the social middle class; not popular, not despised. Just one of the many, not of one of the few. Hence, I had not given the idea one iota of thought. Yet, when ASB elections were announced my teacher told me I should think about running. “You’d be a good president. You’re a leader.”
Me? A “leader?” Were his glasses dirty? Did he think he was talking to Todd?
That was the first time someone saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. It wasn’t the last, but it was one of the most memorable (I ended up becoming ASB president).
Frequently this memory prompts me to tell people the potential that I see in them. Hearing the good, the potential, that someone sees in us is simply sublime. When was the last time you saw something in someone else that they didn’t see themselves? Did you tell them? Did it make their day? Week? Year? Life?
If you didn’t tell them what you saw in them, why not?
It’s hard to see the good in someone else when we are blinded by the bad in ourselves. The loose ends of shame and regret get tied together and pulled down over eyes so that all we see is our own inadequacies and mistakes. Our flawed and broken selves mask the potential within and we can’t see it. But that doesn’t mean others can’t.
Recently, I came across an album that was released last year – Music Inspired by the Story. (If you haven’t heard this and read the background, I would highly encourage you to do so.) One song in particular struck me. It describes with incisive insight how Moses must have felt about being God’s chosen servant (it’s written in first person):
I’d like to see what You see, Why You think I’m qualified To speak for You, O God, Most High Who hides a baby in the reeds of a river, Until he’s grown? Gives him a stage and the strength To deliver his people home? ‘Cause I’m tongue tied, weak in the knees Must be something You only see If there’s anything good Anything that’s good in me Well, it must be You (It Must Be You – (Moses) performed by Bart Millard)
If God looked at Moses – a stammering, stuttering, hot tempered man and saw the makings of one of the great leaders of the past – what does God see when He looks at us? Is it possible he see something good in us? Or does He only see the mistakes we’ve made? Does He not also see the things we too easily forget, the things we have forgotten, and the things we were never aware of in the first place? He sees what is buried within and what has yet to come to fruition.
God sees Himself
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness.” (Genesis 1:26)
Do you realize that you carry within you the likeness of God simply because you are human? That doesn’t mean you are God. It means you hold a unique place in the universe. God made you. You are His handiwork. You represent His highest form of creation. So when He sees you, God sees what He has made. He recalls all the plans he had in mind for you when he “knit [you] together in [your] mother’s womb [making you] fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:13,14) Yes, he knows your mistakes, your flaws, your faults. But more than anyone else God sees Himself in you.
God sees your potential.
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)
Before we were even born, God had plans for us, and He made us – stitched us together – so that we would be perfectly suited to fulfill those plans. That means that you are useful to Him. In His great and glorious wisdom, He is even able to take your failures and pain into account and use those as well. In fact, He knew before the earth was created that you would be the perfect person for the task because he gave you just the right set of skills, and the right set of experiences, and the right amount of pain and inspiration. You are the brush in the master artist’s hand no matter how you feel about yourself. We He looks at you, He sees the tool He wants to use to fulfill His purposes.
God sees someone He likes.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:13)
The fact of the matter is God likes you. Yes, He loves you, but ironically that seems easier to accept than the truth that He also likes you. How do we know He likes us? First, God went to great lengths to deal with the thing that separated us from Him, namely, our sin. Second, He likes His Son, into whose likeness we are now being made. And third, God is not as fickle as we are … liking some people but not others. God’s attribute of love is totally pure which means He has the ability to enjoy all people regardless of what we might think of them. All of this means, when God looks at you, He sees someone for whom He gave up His Son, someone who reminds Him of His Son, and someone whom He has the ability to enjoy. In short, God sees someone that He likes – you!
Today, turn the tables on yourself and do your best to share with someone the good you see in them. Sometimes, the best way to understand and appreciate (and love) God is to put ourselves in His position. Looking beyond the surface into the deeper parts of another person to find the good within is one way to begin to see what God sees in us.
Mark can be reached via email here.