The first thing that comes to mind when you think of Paris is probably the Eiffel Tower. It looms over the entire city [and the souvenir shops] like a lighthouse sticking up at the ocean’s edge.
But a few years ago when we spent a day there, we wandered around the neighborhoods of Saint-Germain-des-Pres and Faubourg-Saint Germain, and saw views like this:
without ever seeing the supposedly omnipresent Eiffel Tower.
Truth be told, before long I forgot it even existed. Out of sight, out of mind. Then, heading down yet another street, we saw this:
Last weekend, I had a similar experience. We arrived in Seattle on a crystal clear day, and as we drove out of the city, every so often we caught a glimpse of majestic Mount Rainier, before it became hidden again by buildings or trees. Heading south to Portland, we passed Mount St Helens and Mount Hood too.
[Mount St. Helens]
However by the next morning, the clouds and rain which the northwest is so famous for moved in.
We drove back north to friends who live on a small farm outside of Seattle. Supposedly they had a great view of Mount Rainier, but I had to take their word for it.
Once again I was amazed that something so big and beautiful could be completely blocked from my view. If I had given up hope and left after the first day, I would never seen the mountain. I would only have been able to take on faith that it was there.
And yet the mountain never moved. The only thing that had changed was the veil of clouds had been removed.
Likewise, most of my life I walk by faith, trusting that God is present, active, involved–even if I can’t see Him or hear Him. I have to live with the conviction that He is there, though there may be no visible evidence.
No wonder one of the fruits of the Spirit is faithfulness–the quality of being unshakable, of holding fast regardless of external circumstances.