“Behold, I see . . . .” Acts 7:56
When the heart grabs hold of God, fear loses its grip. Stephen shows us what the heart can do in a crisis. When the Spirit rises, when the heart is purified, when heaven is opened, there is no flesh, no pain in the presence of God.
While Stephen endured the fires, the blows, and stones of persecutors, God looked on. Why didn’t God lift him above the crowd, snatching him out before the first stone ever struck him? If Stephen had been delivered from the suffering, then uttered this prayer in safety, it would have been a farce. But God did something in Stephen that enabled him to forgive the animosity of the crowd.
God opened the eyes of his heart. Stephen said “I see.” He bore the losses for the increase of riches of heaven. It’s only by going through the fire that our eyes are opened. Without it, we see nothing but pain and darkness. But God gives the heart of a believer eyes of faith to see. In great danger, God shows us great sights.
Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. “I see” is the experience of every Christian. “I see” the meaning. “I see” the shore of hope. “I see” God’s purpose. The ability to see comes not in comfort, but in crisis. It’s the prayer Elisha asked for his friend who saw only the gathering of the enemy. I pray now, open the eyes of his heart that he may see. That is what we all need.
When we know the enemy is near, God is nearer. God comes in where there seems to be no room for Him. Where darkness appears to be the majority, God fills the space with His light. What we want, what we need, in the desperate moments is vision, sight of the heart’s inner eyes.
“I see” is the gift of God. Stephen’s sight of Jesus made him forget his body, he kept trusting his spirit to God. Jesus will always tell us what can only be seen with the heart. You will be hated as he was. There will be scars, but you will come home without a blemish.
Open your eyes to see an opened heaven.