Hidden In Plain Sight

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Hebrews 11:1

Originally published February 23, 2015

If you are a photographer, you understand this concept very well. As you hone the viewfinder on its subject, all distractions and hindrances are looked past. All the clutter blurs while you “hope for that we see not.” You exercise faith through your art when you focus the lens of your camera on seemingly mundane objects. 

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Let me explain: Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. People commonly observe photo-worthy details, scenes, and objects every day, yet we hardly give them any attention. But every one of us is awed by what the camera captures. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork.” (Psalm 19:1) A photographer know where and how to take these shots because they know what is there that everyone else takes for granted.

The difference is you acknowledge it, and the majority (of us) pass it by. It is not because the beauty isn’t there; it is because it is never sought for

Treasure Unseen

Alyssha Eve Csuk lives near the decaying, abandoned Bethlehem Steel Works in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She makes her living shooting pictures in the facility. Her prime subject: rust. The corroded interior of the stacks and structure have kept her coming back for years. In Jonathan Waldman’s book, “Rust”, he recalls as he and Alyssha, “wander around a mazelike industrial complex of greater entropic value than a sub-Saharan market, calmly and boldly, without a map, in search of aesthetic minutiae that most people miss entirely.” He records her dedication to shooting rust, in her own words, “There’s something beautiful here… The color is all there… It’s funny bringing life from something so lifeless.” She sees something valuable that others have missed. Faith.

What spectacular things we are surrounded with! We enjoy the sun every day. Without proper light, there is no art: no dynamics of shadow, reflection, or enhancement. We use it… or should I say abuse it? We thoughtlessly employ our hands in countless tasks every minute, but we do not take the time to marvel at the mechanics that make them work. Our eyes flicker back and forth from page to subject to media, compiling the data at uncanny speeds. What craftsmanship! What handiwork! What operation! Now I can see the EVIDENCE of my faith!

Help Me See Him

“In all thy ways
acknowledge him,
and he shall direct
thy paths.”

Proverb 3:6

There is a puzzle picture I have drawn many times as a ‘chalk talk’- a lesson taught with a drawn picture as well as with words. It is a scene looking across a pond from under the shade of a tree. The lesson goes, that a father is looking for his son to come home for dinnertime. The audience is asked to help find the son. There is lots of fun ‘looking’ under the bushes, in the pond, behind the tree. But while I draw the scene, I also draw the face of the son. Before I point it out to the viewers, they never see it. Once I have shown them, they can’t help BUT to see it. So it is with God’s Son.

Chalk art preacher Bert J. Griswold in his book, “Crayon and Character”, comments on this particular lesson:

“Greatest of all is the fact that God is there. Every tree, every bush, every blade of grass, every flower, speaks of His presence– of his love and care for us.

Many a man who says he has not found God in nature has failed to see the blessings which have come to him– which are his every moment of his life. The fruit, the flowers, the grains– everything that supplies him with the necessities of life and earthly happiness come from the hand of God. Let us feel that all nature is a sort of puzzle picture, and that by looking, looking, looking, we can find God in everything. And in finding Him, let us learn from nature the lessons of humility, of sacrifice, of joy and good cheer; for it is for this that God has given us these blessings. It is only when we thus seek Him that we may look ‘through nature up to nature’s God.'”

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

Hebrews 11:6

 ‘Faith’ is not a shot in the dark (literally) when it is focused on the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the beauty of all Creation. The evidence of the Creator is all around- but the world bypasses it.

A photographer takes the picture because he focuses on the overlooked details that are the source of life’s greatest beauty. A sinner trusts the Lord Jesus to forgive him because he puts his faith in the word of God. Once he chooses to look there (the Bible), he will never look at life the same way.

I trust in God because I know He is with me; He’s in all the details and workings of my life. I can have faith because of Him. I see that now.

Featured image courtesy of Michael Bates

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