“But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.” (Matthew 13:16)
“Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2)
SEEING, HEARING, AND FEELING THE PRESENCE OF GOD
Our senses and our intuition are key when it comes to perceiving the presence of God. It doesn’t work to think your way into an encounter with God; it happens. One experiences God, and the knowing that happens when God is present is a deep, intuitive knowing. One might describe it as being overcome by God.
Jesus said to his disciples, after they asked why he taught in parables, “... blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.” (see above) It is also true that there were plenty of people around Jesus who did not recognize him as the long-awaited Messiah... as the Son of God. He pointed to Isaiah 6 as a prophecy of those who would not perceive the presence of God. “With them indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah that says: ‘You will indeed listen, but never understand, and you will indeed look, but never perceive. For this people’s heart has grown dull, and their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes; so that they might not look with their eyes, and listen with their ears, and understand with their heart and turn - and I would heal them.’” (Matthew 10:14-15)
There is such things as eyes of faith and ears of faith. Those who are on the lookout for God are the ones who encounter God. Those who have an open heart, who are praying, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be made well” (Matthew 9:21).... those who turn aside to see why a bush is burning but not consumed (Exodus 3)... those who are willing to entertain a visit from an angel and say ‘yes” to the most preposterous plans for God to take on human form (Luke 1:26-38)... those who are willing to remove someone else’s roof on behalf of a paralyzed friend (Matthew 2:1-12)... those who are willing to respond, when told to put out into deeper water and let down their nets for a catch, even though they have fished all night and caught nothing. (Luke 5:1-11) These are the ones who encounter the living God.
If you want to know if God is real, then you have to be willing to experience God. And this may involve seeing in ways that you haven’t seen before, listening in ways that you have never listened before, and allowing your heart and your gut to feel things that you have not allowed them to feel before.
And... if you open your heart in this way, God will reveal to you that you are God’s child - God’s beloved child. And if you allow the truth of being a beloved child of God to sink in, then you will orient your life in an entirely new way. And you will never be the same again.
You will be healed... transformed... saved... become more aware... no longer be the center of your own life. You will be one with God, one with others, one with the universe. (These are all different ways of saying the same thing.)
So, yes - the way you see, the way you hear, the way you feel, and whether or not you allow yourself to trust your intuition... these make a huge difference in whether or not you have an encounter with the living God... the risen Christ... the life-giving Spirit.
Open our eyes and our ears and our hearts, O Lord, that we might encounter your transforming love.