Spiritual Object Permanence

In my recent studies I came across something called Object Permanence.

According to Jean Piaget, a Swiss psychologist, Object permanence is the understanding that objects continue to exist even when they cannot be observed (seen, heard, touched, smelled or sensed in any way). This is a fundamental concept studied in the field of developmental psychology that addresses the development of infant’s and children’s social and mental capacities.

Jean Piaget argued that object permanence is one of an infant’s most important accomplishments, as without this concept, objects would have no separate and permanent existence.

For example, have you ever played peek a boo with a baby? How adorable is it to see how mystified and ecstatic they are when you cover and uncover your face with your hands? Or have you ever been playing with a baby and placed their toy under a blanket? In their minds that object no longer exists–to them it’s like an epic magic trick.

I have recently discovered something I would call Spiritual Object Permanence. Now, I’m no Jean Piaget, but I have discovered and experienced this same principle play out in my life spiritually as I am growing from one level of faith to another.

How often have we believed that a prospect (whether that was a job, opportunity, or relationship) did not exist if we didn’t see it in our view?

Webster defines the word Prospect as: the possibility or likelihood of some future event occurring.

We typically base the possibility of something happening in our lives upon some physical evidence that we have. For example, if we graduated at the top of our class we would assume that getting into a good college would be no problem. Or, if we met a great guy or girl and started going out on dates (and they were going well), we would assume that they may be a potential prospect in that area of our lives.

But what happens when the prospect is hidden from our view? Like the blanket placed over the baby’s toy or the hands over the parent’s face?

Have we grown into spiritual object permanence the way a 2 year old baby has grown into the understanding that just because something is hidden from their view that it still exists?

Biblically speaking this is not rocket science, but I didn’t quite make the connection until I read the following verse:

“Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.” (Hebrews 11:1 NLT)

God desires that we grow into having this type of vision–the type that understands that although I see no physical evidence of what I hope for it does exist, and one day it will come to fruition.

We begin this spiritual journey like a little baby not understanding that when we cannot see certain things happening, or when we have no evidence to support that it will, we assume that it won’t happen. Or if we don’t see the evidence of some provision we need, whether financial, relational, or spiritual, we again assume that the answer or provision doesn’t exist, and most likely will not be granted.

Therefore, God wants us to grow into Spiritual Object Permanence.

Although God’s face seems covered, to continue believing He is there.

Although we are in the dark about the next season or even the next step, believing that God will provide what I need.

When it seems we’ve waited for what feels like an eternity for what we desire, believing that although we don’t see anything on the horizon, God has not forgotten us and He will provide what we need, when we need it.





4 Responses

  1. AMEN!! Let me say that again just in case you didn’t hear me …. AMEN!
    Right now, I am in the end stage of major transition in my workplace – 3 months from now my husband and I are packing up everything we have to move across the country to an unforeseen future … but God, He’s here, there, with us and in us … and so we go.

  2. Thank you, Ava! I’m so glad this post was an encouragement to you! I’ve been there–packing everything and moving. So I completely understand how scary it can be! God’s got you though!


  3. Hello Barb, We have never met, but some year’s ago I wrote a blog post – on a long defunct blog – about Spiritual Object Permanence. I was making the same point you are making here….but I think you wrote it better…I just wanted to appreciate your insight and connect with a like-minded soul. Jeff

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