Unseen Things

Guest Post: Stephen Kia | Follow
Written August 12, 2017

My mother died last night, and all I can think about is writing this blog post. Maybe it’s my way of eulogizing her in a sense, of honoring her memory by doing what she and my father raised me to do:

to walk by  f a i t h .

My mom was a true woman of faith, with a personal story that could rival the biographies of any of the missionary greats; and yet it was the quiet steadiness of her private walk with God that left its deepest imprint on me as a child. She was not without her flaws, of course, but throughout the narrative arc of her life she modeled what it looks like to feel deeply, speak softly, and sing often. She and my father taught me and my siblings to see what’s around us and ahead of us with eyes of faith, “while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18). 

And so as I look around me right now by faith, in this moment when mom’s passing still seems so raw,

I can see the shapes of things unseen beginning
to emerge from the shadows.

With a kind of clear-eyed focus I can see the spiritual needs around me and the unbounded possibilities they represent. I can see the fields as it were, white for harvest (John 4:35). 

Looking around, I can see my former college roommate – once a professing Christian, at a certain point he renounced his faith, doubting even the very existence of God for a while. Though he still has many questions, the Lord has recently given him a desire to study the Scriptures for answers. He and I have remained in touch as we’ve both gotten married and now have young kids. He just recently asked if we can begin meeting together once a month for a couple of hours to go in depth on various questions he has in the book of Genesis.

What an opportunity!

Looking around, I can also see our new neighbor in the unit upstairs. Currently in medical school, he was raised going to the Sikh temple as a kid, and although he doesn’t practice his religion anymore he says he knows there is a God. When I invited him to a Bible study in our home he said yes, and the day he joined us we were studying about Abraham offering his son, Isaac, on the altar. We pointed out that Isaac’s question in Genesis 22:7“Where is the lamb?” – finds its answer in Jesus in John 1:29“Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” He was fascinated that the Bible speaks so coherently and consistently about Christ, though penned by 40 different writers over a span of 1,500 years. He asked for a Bible so he can read it for himself, and I gave him one.

What a privilege!

Looking around, I can see my two coworkers, both raised Catholic and neither one satisfied with what the Catholic church has to offer. As they see me daily walking by faith, diligent in the workplace, devoted to my family and passionate in ministry, they are increasingly receptive to what I have to say about Christ. As we talk together about politics and social trends, about work problems and family issues, about private struggles and personal triumphs, I’m given numerous opportunities to bring Christ into view and present Him as God’s solution for all of mankind’s problems.

What a challenge!

Looking around again, I can see my new Muslim friend who invited me to his mosque during this year’s Ramadan celebrations. Sitting on the floor of their prayer hall we discussed many things, some theological and some personal. At one point, I was sharing how the offering of Abel, a blood sacrifice presented by faith, was a foreshadowing of the precious blood of Christ “poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:28). That was literally something he had never heard before, and it stopped him in his tracks and really made him think. He knew of Abel and his offering, but he had never grasped its significance as a portent of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Later as we broke our fast together with the traditional milk and dates of Ramadan, he mentioned that he would like to come visit my church sometime.

What a Savior!

And now as I look ahead of me by faith, I recognize in the distance the Author and Perfecter of our faith seated at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:1-3). I find myself more motivated now than ever to run this race with endurance, to “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).

God made man bipedal, to stand upright with his feet on the ground and his mind in the heavens. So I will continue pressing on, setting my mind on the things above, where Christ is seated at God’s right hand – and where mom is now, resting with Him in glory (Colossians 3:1-4).

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