All Posts, Blog, Suffering

Stop. Look. Listen. Live.

Can you imagine for a moment that you are unable to see or hear anything? In order to navigate through life, you would have to trust those around you to be your eyes and ears. If you tried to do everything without any help, you would be stumbling in the dark and in danger from all manner of things. This is what it means to go through life without trusting Jesus.

We were all at one time in this situation. Some of us have come to know Jesus Christ and trust Him with our life. Some of us still are in the dark at the moment, but perhaps haven’t realised just how dark or dangerous it is without Him. Others have experienced God’s help, but still like to try and cross ‘busy roads’ with their eyes closed and pray that God will help them out from time to time. This isn’t a post meant to judge whichever scenario you most align yourself with. It’s hopefully a post that will give you pause for thought as you’re walking through life, and consider a very real hope for today and the future.

As I was reading the book of Isaiah in the Old Testament, I was struck by the subheadings in the ESV translation. One heading in chapter 42 said ‘Israel’s Failure to Hear and See’ and chapter 43 started with the heading ‘Israel’s Only Saviour’. My eyes flicked between these two statements.

Israel’s Failure to Hear and See.

Israel’s Only Saviour.

A failure of people to hear and see. God’s people sinned against the Lord. They fell short and sinned in very awful ways. They were not perfect. At all. They would not walk in His ways. They became a people ‘plundered and looted’, and ‘trapped in holes and hidden in prisons’ (Isaiah 42:22). There were consequences for sin then, just as there are today. Today, believers in Jesus still sin. But we recognise our need for a Saviour.

The Only Saviour. The God of Israel is the One who says to ‘fear not’, who has ‘redeemed’ and ‘called’ them; who is with them through the turbulent times. Despite their rebellion against Him, God provides them with a rescuer who will restore them.

Blinded or blindfolded?

I find it striking that God’s people so often fail to hear and see Him (especially me), and yet, God tells us to ‘fear not’. His love and grace cover our sin and shortcomings because of Jesus. We cannot save ourselves or open our own eyes and ears. He is the only Saviour. We can know and believe and understand that Jesus is the Saviour of Israel and all of those who trust in Him. Isaiah 43:25 says, ‘I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins’. Where do we see this in action? On the cross where Jesus took our sin upon Himself. It was His saving work on the cross that saves us. When we trust in Him, we can confidently know that He has removed our sin as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12).

Our world is spiritually blind and deaf to the gospel. Yet, God opens the eyes of the blind and unplugs the ears of the deaf (Isaiah 35:5). When Jesus walked the earth, He did heal the sick, but He came to give life to those who were spiritually dead. He can open the eyes and ears of this nation to know Him, but does this nation want to know Him? We are all in need of rescuing from our spiritual deadness. Sin abounds and we see it everywhere. But God’s grace abounds all the more (Romans 5:20).

He has made a way for us to be saved from sin and death. However, even as believers, we are slow in seeing and hearing the Lord. We walk through life at times as if we have seen God’s goodness, but choose to wear a blindfold. We hear of God’s wonderful acts and put fingers in our ears. Are we God’s witnesses? Will we declare what we have seen and heard as the truth and the hope for a hurting, confused world?

Jesus is the one who makes it possible for spiritually dead sinners to become spiritually alive believers, not us. It is His Holy Spirit at work. We cannot save people. Believers still sin and need the help of the Spirit daily. We need God’s help to remove the blindfold and fingers from our ears, and live boldly for the gospel. As we work out our salvation, God works in us ‘to will and to act on behalf of his good purpose’ (Philippians 2:12-13).

From darkness and spiritual deafness to light and surround sound

Many of us may be afraid of the dark (or what’s in the dark), or feel alone in our own darkness. But we can know and experience Jesus drawing us out of that spiritual darkness and deadness when we turn to Him. There are times in life where everything seems dark in our mind and in our world. Perhaps the light seems like it is almost extinguished; a light that is dim, or flickering and threatens to go out completely. Not with God. When all around seems to be dark, the Lord is with those who call out to Him, and His Word is a lamp to our feet and light to our path (Psalm 119:105).

When God opens the eyes of the spiritually blind, they will see their sin for the first time and their need for a Saviour. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). When we follow the light of Christ, let’s not blindfold ourselves. We want to see clearly where we are going. We follow Jesus who lights up this dark world and shows us the way to navigate the times of hopelessness.

Let’s pray that the spiritually blind will have the scales fall from their eyes, and the spiritually blindfolded will have the boldness and confidence to share the hope of the gospel. May hearts be prepared to hear the good news of Jesus and it take root in their hearts as ‘faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ’ (Romans 10:17). Whoever has ears, let them hear (Matthew 11:15).