If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear, does it make a sound? Isn’t that the proverbial question? More to the point, if a tree falls and no one is there to document its’ fall, does it really fall and does it make a sound? My answer is a resounding yes to both questions! It most certainly falls and it most definitely makes a sound, whether there are those present to witness and to document the event or not.
I had opportunity to put this theory to the test in my own life recently, when I unexpectedly had to get a new refrigerator. Shortly after the delivery guys left, my new refrigerator began making a loud, jarring noise which would last about half an hour, then go silent for awhile, then repeat the cycle. Although it was keeping the food appropriately cold or frozen, I knew something was wrong. This was not normal operating procedure for this appliance. It should not sound like an airplane taking off each time the motor ran.
But living alone, there was no one to verify my concerns. When I called the store, they said it was probably the ice maker and that this particular brand tended to run louder than others. I invited them to send anyone they chose to my house to listen for themselves. They declined but did agree to swap out my refrigerator for a less noisy brand. In the ensuing week, I often wished for someone else to hear the refrigerator when it was doing its’ thing, but that did not happen. “just wait a little longer,” I would say to anyone who had happened to stop by, “I’m sure any minute now the refrigerator will start up again. But my new refrigerator was cunning and never revealed her malfunction to anyone but me.
How I wanted someone else to share my pain, so to speak. Someone to validate my experience. I wanted someone to share the falling of the tree with me. This was not to be. However, when the same two guys arrived to swap out my refrigerator a week later, I was both validated and vindicated. Taken by surprise, my new fridge was caught in the act, so to speak. Upon entering my home, they both essentially said, “Whoa, what’s going on here? this is NOT normal operating procedure for this brand (or for any brand!) I was relieved. I was no longer the crazy customer. It was not my imagination. It was real and these two guys shared my reality.
Do we often feel this in our walk with God? That no one shares our reality. We want our experiences validated. We want to know that others share our experiences, the ups and the downs, the successes and the failures, our progress and our setbacks, our joys and our sorrows. God understands this about us. He tells us “it is the Spirit Himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” (Romans 8:16) Hebrews 12:1 encourages us with these words, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
We are not alone. We are surrounded by witnesses who are cheering us on. When Jesus left this earth He did not leave us as orphans but sent His Holy Spirit to live IN us. Christ in us, the hope of glory. (Col. 1:27) We have God as our witness 24/7, He will never leave us nor forsake us. (Deut. 31:6) He lives in us through the person of His Holy Spirit and apparently we are also surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. We are not alone when the tree falls. We do have a witness to share our reality.
You are not invisible. So rejoice all you feeling faceless in a facebook world. Take heart all you overlooked in a You-Tube culture. Your Heavenly Father sees you, knows you and loves you. Hagar said of Him, “You are the God who sees me.” (Genesis 16:13) Job said of Him, “But He knows the way that I take.” (Job 23:10) Psalm 121:8 tells me, “the Lord will watch over my coming and going both now and forevermore.”
Not one person who has ever lived, nor any person living now, nor any person yet to be on this earth will ever be invisible to our Creator/ Sustainer. “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” (Matthew 10:29-30) Now that’s visibility!
We have an identity in Christ as God’s children; we are seen, we are visible, our names are engraved on the palms of His hands. He hears our prayers. We live in a world of lost, invisible people. The Bible calls them “the least of these.” We might call them marginalized or disenfranchised but invisibility is the result either way. We must make it our mission to make the invisible among us visible. How? It can start with a smile, a nod, a kind word, a helpful act, a touch of the hand, a listening ear, a meeting of the eyes. In each case, in that instant, the invisible join the ranks of the visible, if only for a moment. No picturing, no posting, but the moments are real and the resulting ripples are real as well.
I picture it like a game of freeze tag in that when the invisible individuals are acknowledged, they become visible, unfrozen and free in turn to acknowledge and unfreeze others around them, until the process is complete and everyone is unfrozen and free. Of course the process will not reach completion here on earth but the good news is, there is NO invisibility in Heaven! “. . . Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (1Cor. 13:12)
How wonderful! Some translations say, “as I am completely understood or I am fully understood.” Don’t we all long for that? Heaven, where we are fully known and being fully known (no mask or pretense needed) we are fully accepted and fully understood. Now that’s my definition of home!
“even now I go to prepare a place for you, . . . that where I am you may be also.” (John 14:2-3)
sincerely, Grace Day