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Why Seeing God is So Easy That It's Hard

Updated on September 3, 2017
Austin Bingham profile image

Austin Bingham was a pastor for 2 years and now leads worship in the bible belt south of North Carolina.

Why seeing God is so easy that it's hard

I myself am a hiker. There is nothing like taking a day to ride up to a National Park (in my case it would be Hanging Rock or Stone Mountain) see that big brown sign, and step out into that cool, brisk mountain air.

I remember a day such as this one where a friend of mine and I were nearing our destination. Cool thing about this rock overhang that we were trying to get to is that the road leading up to the parking lot was absolutely blanketed with something like what can only be described as a forest canopy. The large trees lined the road leading into the park and their branches seemed to reach out and grab one another from each side of the road. It was like driving through a tunnel of forest and there just so happened to be a road running right through it. It was a Kodak moment.

This particular friend that came along for the day was a special one. It seemed that every conversation we had was always a meaningful one. I was a religion major and more or less was addicted to talking about existential questions and every conversation usually would veer off in that direction. I will never forget how that conversation ended as we drove through something that resembled a scene from Narnia.

"Hey man" I said. "I want you to do something for me."

--"Absolutely" He replied.

"I want you to look at all these trees. But instead of looking at them all as if you have seen trees and leaves a thousand times before, this time I want you to attempt to look at them as if you were seeing them for the very first time."

Enticed, he agreed.

A couple moments passed by as I noticed him squinting his eyes, concentrating to see again anew, for the first time. Then out of nowhere...

--"Hold on a second dude! I don't know what just happened but I think I just bit off a little more than I could chew!"

I peered his direction and saw a face of astonishment and fear. What could have happened that would have left such an impression on my friend?

I believe that my friend actually saw God.

No. I do not think that my friend had some sort of vision where all of a sudden he went into some sort of hazy, jello like dimension where "God" was sitting on a cloud with a long white beard, saying something to the affect of:

"You're in. You're out. You are in. Sorry, You are out!"

On the contrary, and as crazy as it may seem. I believe that my friend saw the actual God of the universe, in a canopy of trees.

One day, me and a friend of mine were talking about spiritual things (imagine that) in his front yard as His two small children were running around doing what small children do. As we spoke, my friends' smallest child picked up a handful of dirt, raised it up in the air and screamed "Hey dad!" Me and and my friend stopped our conversation and looked over at the little one. "Yes son?" my friend replied. With boldness and all of the confidence in the world, little Ellis screamed out "I have found nature!" Me and my friend burst into laughter.

It wasn't until later on that afternoon as I was driving home in my small, white, Chevy S10 pickup did I realize the magnificence in what had happened as my friend's little one held up that big handful of dirt. To him, it wasn't just a handful of dirt. It was so much more. My concern is that what we have done as we have "matured" is that we have bought into the illusion that the dirt is just dirt. We have stripped it of all of its value, we have removed its wonder, and so we go from the house to the car walking all about nature and are slightly depressed because we are bored. We have adopted this horrible habit of analyzing something, putting a box around it, pretending like we understand it, and in doing so stop inquiring on it. We stop believing in it, and our life becomes a melodramatic hum-drum existence where we miss the wonder in everything.

Back to the story with my friend and I riding together through the canopy. How many opportunities had he and I both had to "notice" the trees? We ride past them all the time. If all it takes to become completely overwhelmed with our life is that we take the time to actually "see" the world all around us, then we have unlimited access to wonder and happiness all of the time. It is just hiding in the one place we never thought to look, which is right in front of our faces.

What will it take for all of us to wake up to the fact that happiness and sadness are all a matter of seeing clearly? It is the difference between and "pile of dirt" and "finding nature." The best news, I think what can be called the Good News, is that it isn't hard to find. In fact, it was never hiding to begin with, we were. Isn't that how the story goes?


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