Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Eyes to See

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . .”
Just thinking of the opening words of Charles Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities harkens me back to the days of repetitive dreams about forgetting my locker combination, standing in front of the class without clothes on, or finding out I had an exam in a class I never even attended. I do not miss those days nor do I consider them the ‘good ol’ days.’
However, some recent events have started me thinking of that phrase again: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . .” The events in question relate to a life just ended and to a life just beginning.
A friend I’ve known for over twenty years recently reached the absolute end of himself. We weren’t close and I’m sure that I’ll never really understand all of the issues he was dealing with and trying to handle. But as his struggles got the best of him and he felt there was no further hope of managing them - he took his own life.
Definitely ‘the worst of times.’
Another friend has been on a roller-coaster of highs and lows in his life like I can’t even imagine. He has defeated and been defeated by the same old ‘demons’ in a pattern that drove him to try to end the cycle in the most permanent of ways. But he failed. And now he has emerged from the ‘valley of darkness’ into a new life.
He is walking into ‘the best of times.’
What makes the situations different? Why has one life ended and another gotten a brand new start? Why the “best” for one and the “worst” for another?
I don’t know the answers and I wouldn’t even presume to speculate.
But I do know that the same “best of times, worst of times” scenario is being played out all around us every single day. But we are often oblivious to it.
It’s not that we wouldn’t care if we knew what someone was going through. The problem is that we usually just don’t care enough to find out - to see into their lives.
Do we really know why an employee’s performance has slipped, why that guy seems so irritable lately, why someone has stopped sharing in small group, or why some guy never came back to the Bible study? Surely we would care if we knew (wouldn’t we?) – but do we care enough to find out why?
Do we really?
A contemporary Christian recording artist, Brandon Heath, has put it this way:
Step out on a busy street,
See a girl and our eyes meet;
[She] does her best to smile at me
To hide what's underneath.
There's a man just to her right -
Black suit and a bright red tie.
[He’s] too ashamed to tell his wife
He's out of work - He's buying time.
All those people going somewhere.
Why have I never cared?

Give me Your eyes for just one second -

Give me Your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me Your love for humanity.
Give me Your arms for the broken hearted,
Ones that are far beyond my reach.
Give me Your heart for the ones forgotten,
Give me Your eyes so I can see.

But could we even handle that? Could we bear to see the world through God’s eyes for even one second?
Well - That’s what He wants us to do.
How can we possibly care, how can we hope to show compassion, how can we love like Jesus if we can’t see our brothers through His eyes?
All around us - everywhere we look - it is “the best of times,” and it is “the worst of times.” And He has called us to action. To put our love into action.
So -
“Lord – give me Your eyes for just one second. And then for another . . .”

"By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
John 13:35

Wanting to see,
Craig Hollingsworth

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