Seen and Unseen

“. . . seen and the unseen . . .”
“For through him God created everything in heaven and on earth, the seen and the unseen things . . . ” (Colossians 1:16)

I love it when the camera is able to capture something that is difficult and almost impossible for me to see with the naked eye.  A drop of water falls off my roof into an orange bucket filled with icy water and ice formations, then suddenly something majestic occurs – a water sculpture almost invisible to the naked eye appears and disappears so quickly!  It makes me wonder . . .

I wonder about all the unseen in our lives that is so important – unseen physiological processes, unseen thoughts and feelings, and even unseen suffering.  It reminds of the first time I saw an ocean liner (the Queen Elizabeth I) and was told that there was as much below the surface of the water that I couldn’t see as there was above the water line that I could see.  Above or below, seen or unseen, all is important.

Monday night I was speaking on teen depression at Bethany College in Bethany, WV.  One of the students approached me after the seminar and told me how thankful they were that I had spoken about the topic.  The student said I had described a lot of the pain and suffering they had endured including an attempted suicide.  One of the things they were most grateful for was that I was talking about it publicly so others could “see” what they had endured as “unseen” which caused them to feel so lonely.  Hearing it openly discussed – allowing the “unseen” to be “seen” had made the student feel less lonely. 

There is a lot of suffering that goes “unseen” and locks the sufferer into the prison of loneliness. Sometimes shame and guilt keep the suffering hidden.  Other times the sufferer is convinced they already know the judgmental, hurtful, or unhelpful response the listener would give after the suffering was revealed so why bother to reveal and suffer even more.  There are some things that are meant to remain hidden, like the replenishment of cells inside the body or the thousands of other physiological processes that keep us alive.  However, unseen suffering tends to make matters worse, isolating the sufferer and compounding the hurt.  When God was revealed in Jesus it was not only the means for God to become more visible but also the means by which our own suffering could be laid at the foot of the cross and seen.  The more our suffering is seen, the more we are seen, made to feel we are not alone, and ultimately – healed.  I pray that God will help me make others feel that God and I are open to “seeing” their suffering.  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,
Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church
Cross Lanes, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit

My new book, “Wednesday Wonderings: Spiritual Journaling Through a Lens” is available at and

Check out my video, “Teens Surviving the Storm”

~ by revgenelson on February 19, 2014.

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