Have you ever tried to do one of those children's puzzles which has objects hidden in a picture? There is a line-drawing of a scene in the woods on the puzzle box. Upon glancing at it, you see some trees, an old log lying on the ground, a stream running through the middle, and some plants growing along the water's edge. That is all.
But the instructions say, "Can you find hidden in this picture a duck, a house, a boy, a bucket, a zebra, and a boot?"
Looking more carefully, you see them jumping out at you. There is the boy in the plants by the stream, the duck is on the side of the old log, and -- wonder of wonders -- the zebra is upside down in the tree.1
You saw none of these things until you really began looking for them -- searching for them in unlikely places. They had been invisible to you, but before long you began to see the invisible.
Seeing the invisible is not something we are very good at. It is just not our nature to try. But it can be done.
Witness a man in the wilderness of Midian. His name was Moses. He had never intended to come to the wilderness. He had been reared in the palace of the Pharaoh in Egypt. But he was a Hebrew.
In manhood, he became concerned about his Hebrew brethren who were slaves in the land. One day when he came upon an Egyptian mistreating one of the Hebrew slaves, he was enraged. He intervened and killed the Egyptian with his bare hands.
As a result of that, Moses had to run for his life; he ran east to the land of Midian. For 40 years he lived there. He married, raised a family, worked with his flocks, and maintained his faith.
He kept on believing that there was meaning and purpose in life. He kept on believing that God had a purpose for his life.
Now, how did he do that? How did he remain faithful and hopeful?
The Bible says "He endured, as seeing him who is invisible" (Hebrews 11:27
). Here was the source of his strength and power: he was living in the midst of a strange and alien land sustained by the grace and power of God. He saw Him! He was "seeing him who is invisible."
That is the great need of all of us today. We desperately need to see the invisible.
Yet, we find that difficult to do. Abraham Heschel once said that we have that problem with the prophets. He spoke of the prophets as being "one octave too high for our ears."2
While some things are hard for us to hear, others are hard for us to see -- especially the invisible. How do we do it?I. How Do We See the Invisible?
Parents can help their children develop this capacity. Moses had his first lesson in seeing the invisible at a very early age. In fact, the first lesson was probably rooted in his subconscious because he certainly could not consciously remember it.
The Pharaoh had issued a decree that all the male babies born to the Hebrews should be thrown into the river. Shortly after that decree, Moses was born to a Hebrew woman named Jochabed and her husband whose name was Amram.