I was having a cup of coffee on our balcony during one of our recent cruises. It was early morning, warm and humid. A dense fog completely engulfed us, reducing visibility to just a few feet. Though our cabin was on the 9th floor I was unable to see the water below. The morning was deathly silent as well, almost as if even the usual sounds were cloaked. We weren’t docked, but tendered off shore a little ways. Somewhere in the wee hours we had dropped anchor and waited for the first rays of light before lowering the small boats that would carry us to shore. The land itself was hidden behind the misty shroud. Not being able to see through the fog created an eerie, isolated feeling.
I went back inside the cabin to shower and get ready for the day of sightseeing in this yet unseen land. Thirty minutes later I stepped back out onto our balcony to take one last look, just in case the fog had lifted. Well, it was still there but not quite as solid as before. I could almost make out a shape not far from us. There was now a slight breeze, and I waited a few minutes in order to see what it was that we were parked next to. Imagine my surprise when the waning fog finally revealed another cruise ship anchored right next to us! A full sized ocean liner set within shouting distance and, until just now, was entirely hidden by nothing more than droplets of water vapor. I’m sure some of you have read the following in various articles around the ‘net. “According to our nation’s Bureau of Standards, a dense fog covering seven city blocks, to a depth of a hundred feet, contains less than one glass of water." Now, I tried to run that down to the source but so far have been unable to do so. I’m not sure I believe that. Still – if one takes into account that you can fill your 20’ x 40’ x 5’ swimming pool with 30,000 gallons of water and that you can stand on the side and still read the letters on the bottom of the pool, then it’s rather amazing to me that a slightly different composition of that same water can render visibility to zero. That same water can become as opaque as a layer of concrete.!
Just because I could not see that cruise ship did not make it any less real. Of a certainty it was over 900 feet long, gross tonnage over 137,000, and capable of carrying over 3800 passengers and crew. Yet there she sat, unseen, as people milled about their morning, getting breakfast, jogging on the upper deck, hurrying to their designated area where they would be escorted to the small boats that would carry them to shore. A small community existed parallel to me that went completely undetected.
2Ki 6:17 And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
Likewise, we are not alone in our earthly ship. The spiritual realm is all around us, full of wonders and mysteries. Sometimes I wish that I could see into that world; peek through the keyhole to get a glimpse of what the Lord has prepared. Normally when I pray “open my eyes, Lord, that I might see,” what I am really asking for is to be able to discern a situation, to see a particular thing from a spiritual point of view and to be able to apply it to my circumstance. But, when Elisha asked of the Lord for his servant, he wanted him to be able to truly see. And see he did. The Lord opened the young man’s’ eyes - lifted the fog, parted the veil - and allowed him to see the host of warriors that surrounded them, ready to do as the Lord commanded.
From what battle would we run if we could physically see the heavenly host around us, swords drawn, ready for war?
Since that early morning of nearly missing the surprise before me, I have often contemplated the larger, more important microcosm that exists all around us, hidden by the elements that the Lord put in place eons ago. Benjamin Franklin once said, “Like a man travelling in foggy weather, those at some distance before him on the road he sees wrapped up in the fog, as well as those behind him, and also the people in the fields on each side, but near him all appears clear, though in truth he is as much in the fog as any of them.” How true this is for many things. However, for believers the Holy Spirit within can illuminate the densest fog, and shed deeper understanding into the things unseen. Throughout the ages there have been those who have been given the privilege of a divine moment – a block of time and space held within the palms of God’s hands – where they were allowed to see the invisible and experience the wonder and glory of the kingdom. Why? Was it to build faith and stir the heart, as in Elisha’s servant? Was it to empower the faithful, as in Stephen? Was it to walk with and guide a dear friend, like Moses? Or to restore to physical health one who was tested, like Jesus?
2 Cor 4:18 We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
While in this flesh, we each seem to be trapped inside our own sphere of fog, seeing and understanding only to the degree we have allowed the Lord to open our understanding. Therefore we should earnestly pray that God will allow us to see His mysteries much clearer, but doubtless, one day, when we leave this body of flesh, the Light will burn away this fog and we’ll clearly see the kingdom that awaits the family of God. The important thing for now, though, is to know, truly know, that it’s there, for it is written. “For faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”