Who would have thought a microscopic thing could impact the world in such a huge way?
The headline-grabbing havoc wreaked by COVID-19 is obvious, but this invisible invader has also quietly spawned all kinds of strange new obsessions. Will we ever again stroll down the toilet paper aisle at the store without grabbing an extra pack, just in case? Or will we ever again leave public places without slathering on copious amounts of hand sanitizer?
Will I ever again be able to tolerate uncomfortable clothes after wearing sweatpants, baggy shirts and house slippers during these months of relative seclusion at home? Not that I ever wore pearls and heels whilst sitting around the house, but I’ve reached a new low this year when it comes to my at-home attire. I’m not ready to burn my bras, but I do glare at them in my drawer with a new disdain.
It’s amazing how invisible things can stroll in and immediately begin rearranging the furniture in our lives, for better or worse. We’ve certainly experienced “for worse” with Covid, but I can think of some “for better” examples, too.
Jesus used the tiniest seed, the mustard seed, to teach us how even small faith can yield big results. “… If you have faith the size of a mustard seed,” He said, “you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you” (Matt. 17:20).
And in Matthew 13:31-32, He said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.’”
Size isn’t always a good indicator of potential or power. Neither is visibility. After all, God, the creator and sustainer of everything, has chosen for now to be invisible to our physical eyes. We can learn much about God from what He has made, said and done, and through the life of Jesus Christ, but to follow Him is to walk by faith, not sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).
This was the biggest obstacle for me as I considered seriously following Jesus years ago. I wanted absolute, visible proof He was real before I took such a radical step.
After spending many hours grilling a believing friend with questions about the reality of God and the veracity of the Bible, I found myself standing on the end of a spiritual diving board. My only choices were to jump in by faith or walk away. I jumped and have never regretted it for even a second.
Doubters say, “If I could see, I would believe.” God says, “If you believe, you’ll see.” I have found that to be absolutely true.
One of my favorite quotes seems especially fitting as we enter 2021. It’s an excerpt from a poem called “The Gate of the Year” which is inscribed on a gate at England’s Windsor Castle. It reads:
“And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: ‘Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.’ And he replied: ‘Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.’ ”
If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that invisible things can be very real and life-changing. And so it is with God. May we walk into 2021 tightly clutching His unseen but mighty hand.
“… Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” – Jesus Christ (John 20:29b)