by David Phelps
“Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.” - Mother Teresa
Earlier this year, our seven-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Monica, got her first pair of glasses. A few weeks later, we were in a local fast-food restaurant. In the next booth, there was an Asian girl, about a year younger than Monica, and a man who might have been the little girl's father. Monica is a friendly, outgoing girl and she quickly became acquainted with the other girl.
At one point, Monica indicated her glasses and told her newfound friend, "I'm nearsighted, and so is my mom and so is my dad."
Not to be outdone, the other little girl announced, "I'm China-sighted!"
Each of us is differently sighted: Some of us are nearsighted, some of us are farsighted, some of us are normally sighted and some of us are "sighted" through our senses of touch and hearing. Although the little girl's remark was humorous, it is also true that who and what we are influences how and what we see. This is even reflected in our language: We refer to politicians and their "views" and "outlooks" on different issues. As a ray of light passes through a lens or piece of colored glass, what we "see" becomes different. The color of the glass changes the color of the light. The shape of the lens changes the focus. Whether we are liberals or conservatives, Democrats or Republicans, we see things through the lens of the ideas and experiences that shape our personal values. Monica sees things differently than I do because she is a kid while I am an adult and a parent; she is relatively immature while I am, I hope, more mature. I appreciate having a Christian wife like Charlotte, and many of our outlooks are the same or similar, but in other areas we see things quite differently.
In the same way, if we see things through Christ, our perceptions will be altered. We will see what God wants us to see. Years ago, people who saw things from God were said to have "visions" (Num. 12:5-6). These people were called "prophets." The first person referred to as a "prophet" in the Bible was Abraham (Gen. 20:1-7). As Christians, we ". . . are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made . . ." (Acts 3:25a NIV). The late Dr. Martin Luther King said, "I have a dream." He could just as easily have said, "I have a vision." God has prophecies, dreams and visions for us too, if we will only open our hearts and eyes to receive them (Joel 2:28 NIV).
When Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well of Jacob all about herself (John 4:4-18), she said, "'I can see that you are a prophet.'" (John 4:19b NIV). Jesus looked beyond her external circumstances, beyond the fact that she was a Samaritan, a woman, a sinner and an outcast, someone who couldn't come to the well at the same time as everyone else. He saw a woman who needed more than water (John 4:10-14). Every time we see through the status quo to the injustice around us, every time we see through the stereotypes that keep us from recognizing the needs and feelings of others, and every time we see through a person's exterior to a soul in need of Christ, we are seeing through the eyes of God. If we are truly dedicated to Christ, we can be "Jesus-sighted," and then we will be ex-cited about the gospel. We will see through the eyes of God to the people in need around us and do the work of Christ.
"Open my eyes, that I may see
glimpses of truth thou hast for me;
place in my hands the wonderful key
that shall unclasp and set me free.
Silently now I wait for thee,
ready, my god, thy will to see.
Open my eyes, illumine me,
"Open My Eyes, That I may See" (vs. 1)