People are unobservant creatures. Oblivious to the obvious often. The stories intrigue of the women who did not notice they were pregnant, until some unrelated episode propelled them to the hospital. I know I should be careful speaking of such female things being a guy. But, really? How does a football-size object go undetected…that’s inside your body…all the while sucking the life out of you?
This is one of many proofs people are unobservant creatures. Versions of the dancing gorilla test is another example. Researchers have termed the common condition change blindness that is a close cousin to lack of paying attention.
If we can acknowledge how lousy we are at seeing physically, if we miss so much, what might we be missing beyond the realm of that one sense? Even beyond the five sense, how much more important is the spiritual and eternal than the physical. How do we develop practices to help us see what is going on around us?
One of the most basic and perhaps foundational characteristics of God is his ability to see. The very first descriptor that a person gave for God was the God-who-sees. This wasn’t observed by one of the patriarchs. It was the insight of a female, Gentile, fugitive named Hagar. God came to her, recognized her circumstances, and spoke hope back into her life. She was overwhelmed by the fact that God saw her.
Jesus’ ability to notice the people around him and what God might be doing with them, is a characteristic that even those who were after Jesus, his enemies, saw in him. In Mark 3 is the episode of the man with a withered hand that walked into church. His enemies instantly knew Jesus would spot him. I love this episode because it point to the fact that others (even his enemies) new Jesus was a master noticer. Whomever had the greatest need in the room, Jesus was going to notice. So the guys who were after him were watching him. Jesus picked up on what was happening and met the need.
The God-who-sees is paying attention to everything. As he makes people more like himself, an ability that appears is a greater awareness of what is happening around us.