“No one could have seen this coming,” is an often repeated phrase used by President Trump in his press conferences referring to the current crisis caused by COVID-19.
Critics, of course, are quick to point out there are certain signs our leaders should have seen that were red flags. There have even been predictions of a global pandemic for years by some health officials.
Honest people, however, admit that we’ve all been blind sided by this virus and the disruption it has caused in our lives. A visible enemy is easy to spot. Warships navigating across the oceans. Bombers flying across the sky. Armies marching across continents. We can see those. But this “unseen enemy”? Well, that’s something different.
Seeing the unseen is difficult and demanding. That’s true in so many areas of life. Maybe none more so than when it comes to spiritual matters. In today’s Bible reading, Acts 9, we meet a man whose eyes were blinded to the Truth, but spiritually opened to see the unseen.
Saul of Tarsus was a persecutor of Christians. The Bible says he was constantly breathing out murderous threats toward the disciples of Christ. He consented to the stoning of Stephen. Imprisoned Believers. And generally made havoc of the church.
While on the road to Damascus to further his diabolical deeds, something miraculous occurred that changed Saul forever. He saw Jesus. He came face to face with the One he was persecuting.
Up to now Saul thought he was defending the faith of his forefathers. Squelching the preaching of a dangerous doctrine. And eliminating a radical religion.
But in the most ironic fashion Saul’s spiritual eyes were opened when he was physically blinded by the great Light on the Damascus road. Shaken and shuddering at this occurrence he asked, “Lord what do you want me to do?”
He was told to go into the city and wait for instructions. In his sightless state he prayed and fasted. Three days later the disciple, Ananias, came and revealed to Saul heaven’s message. He believed. Obeyed. And immediately changed from the fierce persecutor to the passionate preacher of the gospel of Christ, now known as the apostle Paul.
Paul’s new found vision and insight into spiritual matters is often reflected in his writings. He prayed for the Ephesians, that “the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints (Eph. 1:18).
He urged his readers to look to Jesus as the “founder and protector of our faith” (Heb. 12:2).
In the midst of problems and persecution he confidently affirmed that “we do not look at the things that are seen, but the things that are not seen” (2 Cor 4:18).
And he warned that we should be watchful and alert to our unseen enemy, Satan, who seeks to seduce and sidetrack us from spiritual pursuits (Eph. 6:10-18).
Satan can use this unseen virus, COVID-19, to create worry, breed fear and propagate panic. He can spawn restlessness and recklessness. And even divide God’s people over opinions, speculations and matters of judgment.
Instead, let’s open our eyes to God’s Word. God’s glory. God’s promises. Protection. And provisions. Let’s see Jesus as our Savior. Mediator. And Advocate. Let’s see the Holy Spirit interceding for us in prayer.
Let’s open our spiritual eyes to the hope that lies beyond this life. And not be blinded by material concerns and physical worries. Let’s restore our focus to the fundamentals of our Faith. And to our spiritual calling, our divine duties and our heavenly hope.
Remember this. What you see in your mind is what you will feel in your heart and ultimately become.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman