I’m the first one to protect my eyes when pain reaches its pinnacle in a movie. I don’t want to see suffering. When my own pain is raw, I’m more sensitive to pain around me. It’s hard to see if you don’t want to look. Do you ever find yourself so overwhelmed by the cares of life that you just want to cover your eyes? It’s tempting.
When I moved to the Inland Northwest, I found myself in the desert for the first time in my life. From our decade of life and serving in Knoxville, TN, I knew the next right thing to do was to lift my eyes. Some days, I’ve just wanted to spend time with my friend the coffee cup and talk to my furry companion Trace. He would be totally okay with this, by the way. (#dogsdealwithtransitiontoo) Lifting our eyes can be a dangerous business. It’s much safer to keep our gaze fixed firmly on our own stuff. “Caring about my life” can be a full-time job. But I believe with all my heart that lifting my eyes is the next right thing. So I tried to look.
I spent the first months strategically learning, meeting people, and asking God to direct my steps. I met people working with refugees, women, vulnerable children, internationals, mentoring, sex trafficking, and community development. Back when I opened my eyes and heart in Knoxville, God gave me passion for people and a purposeful vision for how I could serve Him. In the process, the eyes of my heart were enlightened, (Ephesians 1:18) and I understood why Jesus cried (Luke 19:41-42) over the pain of people.
When I try to lift my eyes, someone works against me. He’s the same one working against you in your part of the world. Satan wants to keep us from lifting up our eyes, and He has such a variety of weapons. He wants to fix my eyes on cares about my life and things of the world. He wants to keep us focused on ourselves and our desires. He even tried this weapon against Jesus, promising, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me,” (Matthew 4:9). If he can keep us preoccupied with our own wants and worries, he will blind us to what’s above the vision line.
I’ve had a lot to look at this year: separation from our kids, distance from friends, grieving losses and disappointment over changes. Sure, there are blessings mixed with hard things, but burdens have a way of blocking the view. Not every day, but some days. What burdens have been blocking your view?
Our Enemy doesn’t have to blind us, if he can keep our gaze fixed on our cares. Are you tempted like I am? Reluctant to uncover your eyes and look around your neighborhood, church, office, city, classroom, family or women’s ministry? To lift our eyes and look up from our own “stuff” is to risk seeing hard things. Lifting our eyes is the next right thing to do, so let’s take a look.
Dear Jesus, I’m tempted to let my cares fill my view. Help me to look up from my own burdens so you can show me what you want me to see.
Later this week I’ll share how God opened my eyes to make sure I got this message!
Why do you think it can be so hard to lift our eyes?
Do you think fear plays a part in covering our eyes?