Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God (v. 8).
When my son was two, he introduced us to his best friend Hyde. Hyde rides a motorcycle. He hosts regular birthday parties and knows everything. Hyde is wise, fun, and comforting. My husband and I have never actually seen Hyde. According to my son, he moved here from outer space.
As my son has gotten older, he has had less time for Hyde. So my younger daughter has picked up the narrative with gusto. She does everything with her friend Hyde. Recently, my son was frustrated with his little sister’s constant imagination. He said, “I’m tired of hearing about Hyde! Don’t you know he’s not even real?! He’s just imaginary!”
My four-year-old took a deep breath. Her response was calm and matter of fact: “Well, the thing is—I’ve never even seen Hyde, so I don’t know if he’s real or not. I don’t care.” No one could argue against this logic. Her brother’s definition of reality did not change her experience. Hyde can exist without explanation. Her pureness of heart allows her to not worry about what others think. She has no need to prove Hyde is real. Her purity of mind allows her to see and experience that which her heart feels.
Of course, God is not a childhood imaginary friend; still, when I read Matthew 5:8, I can’t help but think of my daughter’s defense of Hyde. Her response sounds like a pure, honest, explanation of faith. We can believe without seeing. We can maintain our faith even when we’re surrounded by skepticism. We can know in the very fiber of our being that God is real, because we experience God. We do not need someone else to limit or judge our experience, or define for us what that must be like. In our purity of heart, we see God.
What gets in the way of our experiencing God?
God, you are present in my every moment, even when I do not recognize you. Help me to approach you with a pure heart. Amen.