“The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them.
People judge by outward appearances, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
(1 Samuel 16:7)
Several years ago I had the opportunity to spend time with a person I had only known for a few years. Our paths had crossed in several classes at church but that was the extent of our interactions. She had invited me over to have a conversation about end-of-life matters. What I never would have guessed, as I prepared to sit down with her, was how profound the next two hours were going to be for me. How much she would teach me, not the other way around.
That afternoon, for those two hours, I was given the precious gift of “God eyes”. I let the superficial sight of the world drop away and instead, saw in front of me, this beautiful creation of God as God sees her.
As she began to share with me snippets of her life the façade of the ninety-something woman in front of me melted away. In her place I saw a beautiful young woman full of dreams with an eye on the future.
There was the young ballerina whose lithe frame danced gracefully and joyfully without the constraints of old age and a stroke. The new bride adoring her handsome soldier. A woman who had traveled the world and whose eclectic furnishings displayed the fruits of those travels. A reader surrounded by books. A sculptress surrounded by art. A mother who, with grit and determination, raised her children as a single working woman in an age where women had few opportunities.
As she spoke about her life, her loves, her losses, I became intensely aware of how so much of the time we only see what’s on the surface. When we look at people around us we only see what is in front of our eyes. We only see this old woman a walker, or this aged man with a cane. This overweight widow or this bald, middle-aged man. This bratty teenager or this shy engineer.
That afternoon, in the sunlit room of this quaint old house, the world as God sees it slowly opened and revealed the depth and breadth of the people all around us. The experience was so profound that I found myself sharing snippets of it with friends over the next few days.
I am so thankful that this new friend invited me into her world that day. Without knowing it she invited me to experience the soul-changing adventure of seeing with “God eyes”. A rare but profound vision of the world and the people around us.
My prayer is that I won’t let this moment fade away. That somehow, I will keep the flame of this encounter with the Spirit alive in my heart and in my mind. I want to continue to see everything around me with “God eyes”.
How different would our world be, would our lives be, would our families be, if we could all begin, at least some of the time, to see one another with “God eyes”. Along with that, how different would we be if we could begin to see ourselves with “God eyes”. To love not only others, but ourselves as well, with the love that God sees us through.
Let us pray..
Creator God, continue to help us see one another and ourselves through your eyes. Teach us to not look only at what is right in front of us but to take the time to see and hear one another more deeply. As part of your creation stir in us the will to care for all of your creation loving it and caring for it as you would. Amen.
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This story reminds me of the wise words of a school counselor who explained to a group of second graders how to listen with your ears, eyes, and heart. I remember the rapt expression on the face of a little girl who was really paying attention. I’m sure she was learning to see with God’s eyes and hear with her heart.
I love this story, Barbara. Thank you for telling it so beautifully. (I’m catching up on my reading).