My brother held the picture up and asked, “What do you see?” It didn’t take me long to answer. “Two faces looking at each other,” I said, confidant that the answer was obvious. “Look again,” Terry said. I stared at the picture for a long time. Just as I was about to give up in exasperation, my brother traced the outline of one face with his finger and told me to look at the space between the two objects. A shape emerged and formed into a chalice. The faces blurred into the background.

These optical illusions are common. Some newspapers print a new one every week. Some say the trick is to squint when you look at them. Others say you have to make your eyes go cross-eyed or get really close to see the object hidden in the design. I’ve looked at many of them. Sometimes I can see what’s there. Sometimes I can’t. It’s all a matter of perspective.

Trying to understand spiritual things can seem a bit like trying to see a hidden pattern in a larger design. We focus on what is obvious and fail to see the rest. We need a different perspective, a little guidance, a few clues along the way, someone to point out what we’re missing.

Fortunately, that someone has been provided. When Jesus was about to leave this earth and return to his heavenly home, He told his followers that he would not leave them alone. He told them “I will ask the Father and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of Truth” (John 14: 16,17). The Holy Spirit helps us to see what is hidden. He gives us the perspective of God Himself, and guides us into a place of trust.

Without my brother’s guidance, I’m sure I would have stared at that picture of the two faces for a long time without seeing what was really there. Without the Holy Spirit we cannot understand the things of God. Reading the scriptures will be only an exercise in history at best, a jumble of meaningless words at worst. Trusting God with the hard issues and pain in our lives will be impossible. Our need for the ‘Spirit of Truth’ is absolute.

The good news is that once we become believers in Jesus, His Spirit lives in us. He is as close as our own heart beat. The Spirit’s purpose is to reveal God to us, to bring Him glory. He whispers to our conscience and sometimes shouts to our soul. He puts his finger on the shape of the world and says, “look beyond, there is much more to see."

Marcia Laycock is a pastor's wife and freelance writer living in Alberta Canada.  Her devotional book, The Spur of the Moment has been endorsed by Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and others.  To order, and to view more of Marcia's writing, see her web site -
Copyright Marcia Lee Laycock, 2000, 2001,2002,2003,2004