Open my eyes, that I may see….
December 26, 2014 | My Jottings
In recent years past, choosing one word to focus on for the coming year has been a thing. I’ve done it too, and like the idea. One year my word was “honor.” I have a couple of blog friends who chose their one word after praying that God would show them what He wanted to work out in their lives in the next twelve months, and they’ve recounted how He really did bring joy, or rest, or restoration over and over in uncanny ways.
For 2015, I’m not really choosing a word, but a concept, and it has to do with my eyes. God-willing, my focus will be learning to see the things He wants me to see, asking Him to heal my blindness and sharpen my focus on things with eternal value, teach me what it means and how to gaze upon His beauty, and to turn my eyes from worthless things.
My physical eyes have gotten a bit sick this year, and I think my spiritual eyes have fallen ill right along with them. Some days it seems like I’m groping along, not really seeing where I’m going or what I’m supposed to be doing. I know that might sound odd, since each day I have people and work to attend to and in that sense, of course I know what to do. But (as I keep saying) Michael isn’t here in our home anymore. And when that one sentence strikes my heart, as it does many times a day, I feel lost… lost and disoriented without my husband here by my side. I’m not sure I have God’s perspective on this whole tragedy. Or am I being extreme by even calling Parkinson’s Disease with Lewy Body Dementia a tragedy? Is it more of a trial? It certainly feels tragic to me. I can turn in the Bible to many accounts where sorrow and tragedy struck, and God’s hand could still be seen, along with His ultimate purposes, His keeping care and the way He ordered the steps of His people and helped them. I wish I had the spiritual eyes to see more of what God is doing in our lives now that Michael is sick and we no longer live under the same roof.
I’m still writing in my gratitude journal and have no trouble finding God’s activity in His stunning creation, in the kindness of other people, in His generous provision of not only creature comforts but salvation, and in the myriad large and small ways I know I am blessed. Nevertheless each day seems sort of surreal, like we’re all just playing these sad parts in this melancholy story and pretty soon the curtain is going to go down and we’ll all be who we’re supposed to be, at last. As I typed that last sentence, I had a mini-epiphany. That’s exactly what we’re all doing. This is real life, yes, but we are walking out our days trying to cooperate with the Lord as He makes us more and more into who we’re intended to be. To borrow loosely from C.S. Lewis, it’s like we’re all stone statues, and pretty soon God is going to come and breathe on us and we’ll come to life and be our real selves. I believe that will happen after life on this earth is done, but I believe it’s happening bit by bit now, as we travel the paths He’s set us on, sometimes with good light, other times groping and squinting in the dimness, as I said.
Psalm 27:4 — One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek Him in His temple.
I don’t have a firm grasp on everything the verse above means, but I know I want it. I am asking God to make this more of a reality in my life in 2015. I want to gaze upon His beauty more than I do. I want to seek Him in His temple. This side of the New Testament, the word temple primarily means my body, any person’s body who is a Christian. Remarkably, He has promised to come and live in those of us who ask Him to forgive us and take over our lives, and He makes our bodies/selves His holy temple. I don’t treat my temple very well. This last year, due in part to stress and loneliness, I’ve packed an additional twenty pounds on my already ample temple. Funny how when things are pallid and thin on the inside, the outside gets more and more well-fed. Well, not funny, really.
Psalm 119:18 — Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your law.
I attend Community Bible Study and have delighted in finding God in the pages of scripture for many years. But (no surprise, in light of our last year….see how I keep making excuses for myself?) these last months have not found me enjoying many spiritual disciplines. And I long for the bounty that comes from their quiet practice. This year I am going to read through the Bible chronologically, something I’ve never done before. If you’d like to try it yourself, here’s a link to a printout to help you keep track of your daily reading. So instead of opening my eyes so I can read CNN, our local news, USA Today, and about a dozen other sites, I’m asking the Lord to open my ailing eyes to show me some wonderful things in His law.
Psalm 146:8 — The LORD gives sight to the blind.
Jesus was sure good at healing blind people. I love how He didn’t use just one method, either. Whether it was with a gentle touch of His hands or a warm smear of saliva mixed with dirt (how many think the blind man didn’t care too much about the ickiness of that method once his sight was restored?), Jesus knew how to open sick eyes. My eyes need a touch too — my physical eyes and my spiritual eyes. I’m believing that Jesus wants to touch my eyes this coming year, and perhaps the years following that, if I’m still here. If He heals my sick, dry, plastered-shut-each-night eyes, the physical ones with Meibomian Gland Dysfunction, you’ll be the first to read about it here. But if He only heals my spiritual eyes, I will rejoice in that. I need to see who needs His touch. I need to see His hand reaching out to me when I’m groping in the dark. I need to see the pathway out of old sinful patterns. I need to see His work in sorrow. I need to see which other ministries to support. I need to see my lowly estate (in light of His power and majesty) and my constant need for humility and a laying down of my prideful ways. I need to see His love for those I find so hard to love. Lord, open my eyes and heal my blindness, for your glory.
Matthew 20:32-34 — Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want Me to do for you?” He asked. “Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.” Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed Him.
Can you imagine Jesus actually calling out to you, asking you what you wanted Him to do for you? What would you ask of Him? I have about ten things I would choke out to Him, falling on my knees and sobbing. And how beautiful that He responded in compassion, and touched them.
Luke 24:31 — Then their eyes were opened and they recognized [Jesus].
I want my blindness to be healed so I can better recognize who He wants me to help, who needs prayer, a patient listening ear, words of encouragement. I want to recognize Him in people, and His beckoning to me from the path ahead. Lord, open our eyes so we recognize You today.
2 Corinthians 4:18 — So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Oh, how I need His help doing this. I fix my eyes on my iPhone so I can distract myself and play Words With Friends and Sudoku and read the news and see who said what and why I should care about that. I shudder to think how many hours I’ve fixed my eyes on things that aren’t going to make a difference in my life or any other person’s life, as I’ve tried to zone out and detach myself from the emotional and mental pain that has so boldly intruded on my days and nights.
But as is true with everything, I cannot do any of this in my own strength. So I hand myself over once again, place the whole of my life in the hands of the One I feebly love, but yes, it is still love even if it needs to grow, and I say, Lord, open my eyes. Heal my blindness. Make me aware of the things you care so deeply about. Forgive me, dear Jesus.
I got a new pair of glasses not long ago, and posted a picture here on the blog. I also mentioned how heavy they were and how the bridge of my nose began to ache, and my eye sockets. Well, my friend Jodi texted after reading about that and steered me to an optometry shop in our city I’d never been to. Jodi’s steering has been excellent in a number of things in my life, so I went right down to the glasses place and told them my nose woes. They had several pairs of feather-weight glasses that suited me well, and these are the ones I finally settled on. They look a lot like my other pair, but they are so much more comfortable.
(If I’m ever arrested for disturbing the peace because I was caught uproariously celebrating the healing of my eyes, I guess I already have a mug shot for the police to use.)
Do you have anything you’d like the Lord to do in your life this coming year? Would you be willing to share?
In His grace,