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Why we "walk by faith, not by sight?"


Why doesn’t God Himself appear to us in such a way so that we wouldn’t have any doubt and uncertainty? This is because it is impossible for us as mortals to come close to God. Here is a comparison: as with any living thing on earth, our life is nourished by the sun. However, should we come close to the sun, we would be incinerated instantly. Yet how gently and tenderly does a blade of grass grows under it! And we are protected by the same nature from the many burning rays that radiate from it. Just as there is an aerial curtain between us and the sun, there is an invisible curtain between our nature and that of God’s — notwithstanding His nearness to us — and it is our faith that allows our soul to penetrate this curtain. "Thou shalt not be able to see my face; for no man shall see my face, and live," (Ex. 33:20) says the Lord to Moses. And the appearing images of God to people are essentially that — only "images," because "God is a consuming fire." Nevertheless, God had allowed people to see Him through the appearance of the Son of God, in a truly physical form. "He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses." He is not like a consuming fire, but is a quiet Light, and we exalt Him with the words: "O joyous Light of the holy glory of the immortal, heavenly, holy, blessed Father, O Jesus Christ" (a prayer of Vespers). But even here faith is required. Just as faith is required so as to know God, His greatness and the incomprehensibility of His Nature, so it is required in order to see and acknowledge God and His meekness, humility and earthly degradation. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" (Matt. 5:8). With purity of heart, faith attains such firmness and strength, and bestows such a blessed state, that it ranks equal to heavenly vision. Such is the faith of the Saints. 

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