While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal (II Corinthians 4:18 NASB).
Two times in this chapter the Apostle Paul tells us, “do not lose heart.” All who are serious about serving God will at one time or another be tempted to give up. Paul himself tells us in II Corinthians 1: 8 that he was burdened beyond his strength and despaired even of life. How are we able to get through these times of loneliness, heartache, and disappointment? We must by faith be able to see the unseen God.
Lo, I Am With You Always
David Livingstone was the famous Scottish medical missionary who impacted a large part of Africa for the Kingdom of God. As a little boy Livingstone sat on his father’s knee as he read to him stories about missionaries. Hunger grew in this the lad’s heart to be a missionary. At a very early age he prayed this prayer. “Send me any where only go with me. Lay any burden on me, only sustain me. Severe any ties but the ties that bind me to Your service and to Your heart.” As he was praying a portion of Matt 28 came to his mind, …lo, I am with you always even to the end of the age.
After receiving a medical degree he traveled to Africa as a missionary. Livingstone married and He and his wife buried two of their children from sickness and disease.
Health and safety became such an issue that his wife and children returned home. After a very extended period time David returned to Scotland to be reunited with his wife and family. He enjoyed his time with his loved ones but the people of Africa tugged on his heart. Livingstone and his wife decided that he would return and she would follow later at the appropriate time. Once again he labored alone on the mission field. The very day she arrived back in Africa she contracted a disease, and a few days later he buried her in the African soil. An eyewitness reported that David Livingstone knelt beside the grave and wept his heart out. He was heard to have prayed, “My Jesus, My King, My life, my all, I again consecrate my life to Thee, I will place no value in anything I possess or in anything I may do except in relation to Thy Kingdom and Thy service.” An once again it came to his heart, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Livingstone experienced tremendous physical hardships in fulfilling his call and reaching the he continent he loved. On trips back to Scotland he stood before university audiences. His skin was dried and baked to a leathery texture. He was blinded in one eye from a tree branch. His shoulder immobile form a lion attack. The students asked the same question at each school. “How could you do it?” His answer was always the same. “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” David Livingstone was able by faith to see the unseen God. And that was enough.
God Is Enough
What enabled Moses to persevere when he asked Pharaoh to let his people go and resulted in them being in a more precarious situation? (Exodus 5&6) He listened to the word of the Lord and saw this invisible God finishing the task. And what about Joseph when he was betrayed by his brothers (Genesis 37)? Or when was he falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife(Genesis 39), or forgotten by the chief baker (Genesis 40). He saw this seemingly distant God as one who brought good out of bad. And this was enough.
What about you and I? How do we navigate life’s reversals? When we experience disappointment, betrayal, unfulfilled expectations, do we see then through the grit of God promises like David gave to his son Solomon.
… “Be strong and courageous, and act; do not fear
nor be dismayed, for the Lord God, my God, is with
you. He will not fail you nor forsake you until all
the work for the service of the house of the Lord is
finished. (I Chronicles 28:20 NASB).
What God starts He always finishes. If we believe God, that He will never leave us nor forsake us, we will see this unseen God and that will be enough.
Ken Barnes, the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places” YWAM Publishing