A Heads up Guidance System (HGS) is a complex navigation aide that allows pilots to see through heavy fog, rain, low cloud cover, or other poor visibility conditions. In reality, they cannot actually see through rain or fog. As an HGS equipped aircraft makes its approach into an airport, a virtual image of the runway is projected onto a transparent screen (the Heads up Display screen, or HUD) that flips down in front of the pilot’s windshield, kind of like the sunvisor in your car or truck, and the pilot aligns the aircraft to the image on the screen as he would to the actual runway….if he could see it. If you were to look through the HUD screen on a clear day, the virtual runway on the HUD screen would be perfectly superimposed over the outline of the actual runway. It’s that accurate, and it has to be. You could say that the image of the runway on the HUD screen is an exact representation of the real runway. It requires complete faith and trust on the part of the flight crew. The pilots are trusting their lives, as well the lives of passengers and crew, to the HG system anytime they make an approach into an airport in less than favorable conditions.
It’s amazing to hear people talk about putting their faith and trust only in things they can see, hear, or touch. But without realizing it, they trust their lives to things unknown and unseen every day. They trust a pilot they’ve never met to protect them using technology most of them don’t even come close to understanding. In plain terms, they put their trust and faith in people and things they don’t know, see, or understand. Why is it so difficult then, for so many of those same people to put their faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ? To be sure, they’ll argue that God is unseen while the plane, the pilots, and the systems and instruments they rely on are visible and real and can be seen, heard, and touched. And at the same time, they demand to know how anyone can worship a God who’s unseen.
But therein lies the fatal flaw in their argument because Jesus Christ is as real as you and me and everything we see around us. He was a living, breathing person when He walked on this earth 2000 years ago. He’s alive and well today and is seated at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. Living, breathing people witnessed his life, death, and resurrection, as well as His ascension into Heaven. While no one alive today has seen Jesus, plenty of people saw Jesus in that day and time, enough so that the credibility of the eye witness accounts is well established, as are the gospel accounts and the rest of the New Testament. It’s somewhat ironic that people use that argument against God; that they don’t believe in Him because they can’t see Him, when in fact everything around them was created by God. The raw materials from which the plane and every part in it were made were created by God.
And consider the human pilots. It takes special skills to be a pilot. Not everyone has those skills. They are God given, even though a pilot does have to hone those skills through constant training. But that holds true for any of us, regardless of the skills we’ve been given. But when a pilot has to land a plane in poor visibility conditions using a HUD screen, he’s trusting an image on that screen that is an exact representation of where he needs to fly the plane in order to land safely. He puts his ‘faith’ in a system that he (or she) trusts will guide him to a runway….he cannot see. He knows how to use and operate the system, but I doubt if he could explain how it all works. He just knows that it does. And he also knows his life depends on it.
In the first chapter of Hebrews, the Bible says, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and………the EXACT representation of his being…” Paul wrote in his letter to the Colossians, “He is the “image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.” Jesus was a little more direct. As recorded in John’s gospel, when Philip said to Jesus, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Jesus answered him, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” As John MacArthur said, “Jesus is the representation of God’s person. He is not only the brightness, He is the very essence and substance of God.”
Here’s another irony: When you hear someone say they only believe what they can see, touch, hear, or feel; all of those things will crumble eventually. All man made things like cars, planes, buildings, bridges eventually deteriorate until there’s nothing left. They have to be rebuilt or replaced at some point. Likewise, all created things like grass, trees, dirt, blue sky, water, animals, other people; all things created will one day, according to the Bible, perish. And so too will those who refuse to believe in God on the basis of their five senses. They will also perish, but not as they understand the word ‘perish’. They won’t just fade away into oblivion. They’ll suffer forever for their stubbornness and disbelief.
On the other hand, we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. Those are not my words. Those are the words of Paul in 2 Corinthians chapter 4. Jesus is eternal. He said to Thomas, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” An unbelieving world trusts only what it sees, yet everything it sees is perishable. We trust that which we do not see, an almighty God who is imperishable. Yes, Jesus is eternal. He lives, and because He lives, we who trust and believe in Him will also live. That’s a reality that we will get to experience…….for all eternity!