Believing when I cannot see

Published 10:12 pm Wednesday, December 14, 2016

By Tonya S. Swindell

The game Peek-a-Boo is very educational, because it develops object permanence. Once the skill is mastered, a person learns objects and people are “still there” despite being unseen.

The Holy Spirit is developing that skill within my heart so I will believe God is present even though I cannot see Him.

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Thomas doubted Jesus was alive after crucifixion. Although he had followed Jesus’ ministry, Thomas confessed: “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.”

“Eight days later, the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. ‘Peace be with you,’ he said. Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!’”

I can relate to Thomas’ tendency to believe only after seeing. I can also relate to the man who brought his son to Jesus for healing while pleading, “Oh, have mercy on us and do something if you can. ‘If I can?’ Jesus asked. ‘Anything is possible if you have faith.’ The father instantly replied, ‘I do have faith; oh, help me to have more!’”

Second Corinthians 4:18 says, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” And Hebrews 11:1 tells us: “Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].”

Recently author and preacher Joel Osteen mentioned how roots grow beneath soil before a tree becomes visible. His words reminded me unseen things occur daily. An inspirational phrase from a decorative sign said: “Faith is daring the soul to look beyond what the eyes cannot see.”

My 6-year-old daughter is developing spiritual object permanence. After looking toward the sky while riding her bike, she turned to me and said, “Mommy, I wish I could see God, but even though He’s invisible, I know that He’s with me in my heart.” Jesus said, “…whoever humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this in My name welcomes Me.”

The psalmist acknowledged how powerful childlike faith can be by telling the LORD: “You have taught the little children to praise you perfectly. May their example shame and silence your enemies!”

I have a strong urge to trust what I can see. But I’m learning to believe in spite of adversity. My faith, not my sight, is my title deed. So I rest with childlike faith knowing circumstances are temporary!

Tonya Swindell writes a blog for and a teacher for Kingdom Building Equipping School ( She can be reached at