Misreading the Signs

The Bible is full of people who misread the signs of God’s presence. There are many examples to choose from. Eli missed God’s work in Hannah (1 Sam. 1); Naaman didn’t recognize God’s work to heal him (2 Kings 5); and the Jews didn’t recognize God’s work in and through the disciples at Pentecost (Acts 2).
John records an instance when a voice from heaven accompanied some of Jesus’s words:

[Jesus said] “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!”
Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him. (John 12:27–29)

Two groups of people heard the same thing. Some heard it as thunder; others heard God’s voice speaking. What separated one group from the other? Two groups saw a woman dump an expensive jar of perfume over Jesus’s feet. Jesus saw the act as worship, while the disciples saw waste. What distinguished one view from another?
I want to suggest that in each of these instances, what separated the two groups is something Paul called “the eyes of your heart” (Eph. 1:18) and what Jesus called ears to hear (Matt. 11:15). Or what the writers of the New Testament simply called faith. Faith is an inner disposition or willingness to see. It is a willingness to move beyond sight (what we see and perceive with our senses) into the “assurance about what we do not see” (Heb. 11:1). Faith is a way of seeing the world; it is a way of reading the signs of the presence of God. This is what so often separates those who see and hear from those who don’t.
Erre, Mike. Astonished: Recapturing the Wonder, Awe, and Mystery of Life with God. Colorado Springs, CO: David C Cook, 2014. Print.