Do you remember the children’s game, “I Spy”? Someone identifies an object of a certain color in the room, discloses the color and everyone else guesses which object of that color the person has chosen. “I spy something red,” they may say. And so the others guess, “the chair,” “Susie’s scarf,” “the barn in the painting.” The amazing thing is that once the color is mentioned, all the items with that color start “popping out” and you see it everywhere—in subtle nuances and in showy splendor.
Early in our mental health journey with Douglas it was only in hindsight that I spied the fingerprints of God in our midst. It was after the judge was lenient that I knew God had been at work. It was following a positive appointment with a new psychiatrist that I was able to see how He had lead me to ask a random acquaintance for a recommendation and how the unusual cancelation that had allowed Douglas to be seen quickly had been His doing. Often, looking back the next day, I would echo Jacob’s words: “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” (Genesis 28:16 ESV).
Over time though, like the children’s game, God’s presence was so obvious that I could see His faithful love at work in all circumstances. The trick was, I had to be prompted to see it. The red colors are in the room before, during and after we play the game. We just don’t notice them. No one called our attention to them. But once we are looking, we see. We just need to know who to look for.
I sometimes hear people say things like, “Wow! God really showed up for us.” I think it is more likely that, as Jacob reminds us, God was already in this place. He didn’t just arrive in our time of need. He was there at work before we knew we had a need. We just didn’t know it until He opened our eyes to see.
Think about the disciples on the road to Emmaus. They had walked miles with Jesus in deep conversation. But it was only when He blessed and broke the dinner bread that they spied Him.
As we care for loved ones with mental health difficulties, there are many times and situations when we feel utterly alone, confused and fearful. At those moments we can begin to look around and ask God to open our eyes to the power of His presence. Then we can spy His goodness orchestrating, positioning and providing.