I recently watched the old movie The Miracle Worker, which is based on the true story of Helen Keller and her teacher. Helen Keller was the daughter of a former Confederate Army officer who became blind and deaf at nineteen months of age. For years, she lived with very little ability to communicate with anyone. At last, when she was not quite seven years old, a young tutor, Anne Sullivan, came to teach her. Within a very short time, Helen had a great breakthrough and learned the concept of words. She soon learned the fingertip alphabet, and she later learned how to write, read Braille, and speak. She went on to graduate from college (the first blind and deaf person to do so), write books, and give lectures.
In the movie, Helen Keller was depicted at times as groping into the air for someone or something that she could not find. There were many times when the person or object she sought was very near, but she was unable to know. People around her were talking and moving, but she was unaware of them. Her blindness and deafness prevented her from knowing what surrounded her and communicating with others. She did not know how to tell anyone what she wanted or needed. In truth, she was groping for more than just people and objects. She was searching for a way to communicate, and when she found it, she was overcome with joy and the desire to learn more.
As I think about Helen Keller’s story, I see a spiritual lesson. Without Christ, we are prevented from the full awareness of God even though He is always near us. We blindly stumble through this sinful world, groping for someone or something that we cannot find. At last, we may find the Lord Jesus, and, through Him, we are able to see God through the eye of faith. Christ said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). Christ is the revelation of God unto man so that we may know Him. “No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him” (John 1:18). Jesus Christ opens our spiritual eyes and ears so that we may both see and hear the truth of God that has previously been hidden from us.
Not only does Christ open our spiritual eyes and ears to know God, but He also gives us the joy of speaking to God and making our thanksgiving and petitions known. Through Christ, we can pray to God with great confidence, knowing that He hears us (1John 5:14). Because the Son of God is our means for approaching the Father, we have bold access to God that we could not otherwise have. “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16). In Christ, we now have a way to express our spirits’ longings to the Father, and His Spirit even intercedes on our behalf (Rom. 8:26-27).
The apostle Paul taught the Athenians these lessons in Acts 17. He saw that the people were “very religious in all respects” (v. 22), but they worshiped God in ignorance. They had been blind and deaf to the truth about God, so he showed them how they might find God. Notice verses 24-31:
“The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’ Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man. Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”
Paul taught the Athenians that they could find God if they would only learn how to connect with Him, for God was very near to them. The breakthrough they needed to reach God was Christ Jesus.
We should rejoice for the joy that has been brought to us through Christ. He has taken us from the domain of darkness and silence into the light and sound of God. He has allowed us to see and hear Him who has always been near to us. We have groped for God, and now in Christ we have found Him. Let us praise God for the wonderful blessings of spiritual sight, sound, and speech through our Lord Jesus Christ!
Stacey E. Durham
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