I keep a needlepoint image propped up on my dresser. It’s an optical illusion – the background and foreground switch back and forth with each other. Each time I walk by I pause to let the background image come into view. It happens more easily than it did when I first started, but still, I sometimes have to wait a bit before I can see what starts out hidden. My purpose is straightforward: want to remind myself repeatedly that there are spiritual things I also need to learn how to see.
My needlepoint illustrates well our experience with Jesus. Sometimes we have no sense of His presence, and then, without warning, we become vividly aware of His nearness. One moment He seems nowhere to be found. The next moment He’s clearly at our side. From unreal to real. From ethereal to solid. From invisible to visible. From background to foreground. The Jesus who seems to be hidden is already there – we just haven’t learned to be aware of His presence. (That’s why He fades out of view.)
The shift in awareness is not of our doing. Our part is to relax and attentively receive and wait for the hidden to emerge. God’s part is to make the invisible visible.
I have a couple of suggestions.
First, to help yourself connect with what I’m saying, try my “spiritual practice” yourself. Here’s a picture of my needlepoint. (You don’t have to keep a printout on your dresser. It works just as well taped to the frig.) Just practice letting what’s hidden pop into view.
Second, pray. Ask Jesus to emerge into the foreground of your daily experiences. Paul says much the same to the Corinthians when he tells them to look at the invisible. (See 2 Corinthians 4:18.) As you pray, ask the Holy Spirit to give you awareness of truths you have not yet seen. You will find God more solid than the visible things which distract you from His invisible presence.
Spiritual Inattention: When Jesus Fades out of View
© Lynne Fox, 2017