Our house shook violently, similar to a sonic boom but much bigger. My father and I ran outside to see what had happened. He said, “Get in the car.”
Driving eastward we could see a black plume of smoke rising from the refinery where dad worked, and then saw the demolished remains of a large petroleum storage tank. Several men had been welding inside and on top of the tank, but it had not been adequately tested for flammable fumes. The mixture of fuel and air was sufficient to create a large explosion. If I remember correctly, two men died and two were critically injured.
Invisible things are more important than the things we see with our eyes.
Wall Street analysts focus on revenue, profit and loss, and return on investment. But “invisible” things are more crucial to a nation – vision, purpose, confidence and faith are key.
In 1989 the Soviet Union looked formidable, having thousands of nuclear weapons, a huge standing army and having control over the largest contiguous land-mass in the world. But within, the Communist Eastern Bloc was bankrupt, a large rotted tree nearing collapse from far advanced disease that was largely invisible to all but the most observant.
Perception is reality, and invisible things are more important than those which are tangible.
A company or bank may be financially sound, but if people begin to doubt its solvency it can be brought to collapse by mere rumor. Fear can be a self-fulfilling prophesy, made true because people believe it is true. Belief is everything.
Why are the pieces of paper in our wallets (called dollars) valuable? Because people believe they have value. If that faith is shaken, the same pieces of paper may become worthless as in Germany during the 1920s.
Just as gas fumes are invisible but extremely powerful, so too are ideas, faith in God, dedication to inalienable civil liberties, and commitment to justice and right.
Are you more preoccupied with the visible and obvious demands of this physical world which shout and require our constant attention; or are you more focused upon the still small voice of God, the quiet call of faith that beckons us to focus upon invisible, less urgent, but far more important things?
The most powerful of all invisible things is love. 1 Corinthians 13 says, “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs." This invisible thing - love, is the most powerful and important force in the cosmos.