Dealing With Failure- 1 Thessalonians 5:5-6, Ephesians 5:14

Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.

Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.

COMMENTARY

Therefore let us not sleep, but let us watch and be sober
Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light
Recognizing your flaws, making efforts to improve on them, failing to do so perfectly, and picking yourself up to try again can be a hard and wearying process. But…it also means that you are spiritually awake and your discipleship is alive!
Of course it is possible to not feel the pain of trying, all it requires is that you give up. I was there once. I used to be oblivious to the areas of my life that needed improvement. I was asleep to the gospel and content with mediocrity.
As I found out, though, ignorance was not bliss. Sleeping through my own great story only meant that I was dissatisfied without understanding why.
Now I feel agitated to become the best version of myself that I can. Yes, at times it can feel overwhelming, but it is a genuine privilege to shoulder that burden. It is far better than to remain asleep.

The Lord Sees You- Life Example

My dearest spiritual experiences have to do with the times that I felt the Lord was seeing me directly. Though I may try to appear as an entirely self-dependent adult to the world, in my heart I am still His child and I still crave His awareness of me.

Growing up I was the fourth child of nine. Though each one of us has always been a distinct individual, it was still hard to not feel labelled as “another one of the Austins.” In fact people still mistake me for one or another of my brothers even today. Any time I reached a milestone in life I had already seen brothers and sisters get there before me. Every accomplishment I achieved had already been exceeded by one sibling or another. I always felt that I was distinct, but I didn’t feel recognized as such.

If nine children seems like a lot, how about the billions of our Heavenly Father? And yet, remarkably, God has never treated me like a “one of.” In many interactions He has reiterated to me that I am “His only.” By which I mean that while He may have many children, I am the only me that He has. I am the only me that He will ever have. And He holds me precious because of that.

Though in the scriptures we hear Him promise blessings to all His children, in my experience He makes a point of delivering those blessings individually. You don’t receive His spirit because you are “one of” anything, you receive it because you are you. Never forget: though the rain may shower us all, the drops that fall on you are individual, they touch no one else.

The Lord Sees You- Mark 5:25, 27-34

And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years,
When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.
For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.
And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.
And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?
And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?
And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing.
But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.
And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.

COMMENTARY

And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?
I’ve always been impressed how this story illustrates the Savior’s ability to tell the difference between those that brush by him and those that touch him. To the disciples it was impossible to distinguish between the multitude and the one, but to the Savior the distinction was entirely clear.
To this day many people throng around Jesus, but our desire is to be one of the ones that reach out and actually connect with him, and our hope is that he will recognize us when we do.
Personally I can attest that there is a real difference between the two. I’ve been the individual who meanders around Jesus, thoughtlessly going to church and saying my prayers only because it is “what I’m supposed to do.” But I’ve also been the one that desperately needed healing and reached out in hope that he was really there for me. Having felt the sweet reassurance of the latter, I never want to go back to the first.

The Lord Sees You- Luke 21:1-4

And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury.
And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites.
And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all:
For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.

COMMENTARY

And he saw also a certain poor widow
Yesterday we examined a rich and enthusiastic man who climbed a tree just to get a good look at Jesus. Jesus recognized and appreciated his efforts, which gives me confidence that he sees all of our silly attempts to catch his attention as well.
In the gospels we see many other bold individuals: brave Peter asking to walk on the water, the sinful woman washing the Savior’s feet with her own tears, brash Paul unapologetically butting heads with his fellow apostles.
But today we have a much more quiet example, one of a person that is not vying for attention at all. She is a poor widow casting her meager contribution into the temple treasury. Surrounded by others that are far better in worldly terms, she is nonetheless immediately recognized for her quiet faith by the Savior.
I’m sure each of us has done something nice for another and had it gone unnoticed. We have seen how society flocks around the drama or a repentant sinner while the quietly consistent disciple goes forgotten. We have wanted to be humble, but also wanted to be appreciated.
This story of the poor widow assures us that Jesus sees and validates all our efforts to follow. If all the world forget us, he at least never will.

The Lord Sees You- Luke 19:2-9

And, behold, there was a man named Zacchæus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich.
And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature.
And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way.
And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchæus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house.
And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.
And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.
And Zacchæus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.
And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.

COMMENTARY

And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not…because he was little of stature.
And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.
Zacchæus was a man “little of stature,” one easy to overlook. Yet Jesus saw him even so. He was also easily misjudged because of his background, yet Jesus saw the real him even so. Jesus saw the man, Jesus saw the heart.
I feel Zacchæus is a character that pretty much anyone can empathize with on one level or another. We all have our times of feeling like small people that the world has little value for. When we accomplish something, no one notices. When we speak, our words are misinterpreted. Most people don’t even see us, and if they do they don’t see us rightly.
Zacchæus may have “sought to see Jesus who he was,” but he was rewarded with a friend who would “see Zacchæus who he was.” Here at last was a person who would really get him. A person that would recognize and appreciate his faithful efforts. A person that would want to abide in his house and hear his sorrows. A person that would know him intimately, call him by name, and bless his home.

The Lord Sees You- Question

Some of the most heart-warming messages I’ve received from God are as simple as “I see you.” All of us have had periods feeling overlooked and underappreciated, like we are only supporting characters in someone else’s story.

I am convinced that it is in moments of isolation that people to develop their worst habits and dependencies. Being “seen” by God isn’t just something that’s nice, it’s something we need to be our healthiest, best selves.

In this study I’d like to examine the different ways God sees us, the positive effects that come about by being seen by Him, and what we can do to more fully feel His light around us.

In the meantime, what are ways that God has shown you that He sees and cares for you? What are the changes that have come about in your life because of this knowledge?