This morning, as I walked the Patton Middle School track I closed my eyes to the blazing sun...and which is often my habit...I prayed and talked to God. Unfortunately my habit of walking is worse then my habit of praying and so the Lord does His best to speak to me in whatever way He can.
I am easily distracted...and so I momentarily forgot my prayer and instead focused on walking within the track lane with my eyes closed. Childish I know...but my mind wanders and I am amused and challenged by the simplest of ideas.
Nothing catastrophic happened but it did get me thinking...or perhaps it gave the Lord something to work with. I am so dependent on my sight I could not stay within those lines without wandering into the other tracks. I have been walking for over 50 years and I don’t think about walking, I don’t think about where or how I get my bearings or keep my balance. I just walk with my eyes wide open and it is as much a part of me as breathing...
So what would it be like to lose my sight? If I had gone suddenly blind I would have struggled to make it from the track to the street. I would need help not only from the very beginning but I would need help continually from that day forward. I would not be able to survive without someone’s help or intervention. I would need to use a cane so I could sweep it across the sidewalk as I walk, I would need to learn to listen for directional cues and I would have to memorize how many steps it takes to go from one destination to another. Without someone to take me further, my world would be very small, very difficult and largely confined to my home.
Life can be like that. Their are moments in our lives when we are cruising along and then in what may be a blink of an eye or maybe a slow nightmare tumble to the ground we are blind and it is dark and all reference points have been taken away. I do not believe the Lord creates these moments but He does use them to teach us about who He is and how desperately we need Him to take our hand and lead us.
Think about Paul the apostle...stopped....by a flash of light, a tumble off his horse, a voice from heaven and then blindness. His men had to lead him to where the Lord instructed and then he waited until the Lord sent someone to restore his sight. We know from the Word that Paul was no longer the same but became a believer...His sight was restored both physically and spiritually and I suspect his eyesight though restored was never the same. He may have been healed and restored to perfect sight but he no longer looked at the world and his Savior with the same eyes...he had been transformed.
On the way to our destination, life happens. Its not necessarily good or evil...life just happens and we either trust God with those moments of blindness or we don’t. You either find your way out of a cold and dark room or you stay. Often in life we have to ask ourselves...Can I take hold of His hand and trust Him to lead me where I have never been and can I honestly say, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for You are with me, Your rod and Your staff they comfort me?
Life happens and as life happens and you are stumbling in the dark and the Lord is holding your hand... the question is not only...will you hold onto His hand...but when your sight is finally restored whose eyes will you have? When you finally pull through and are able to look back and then you turn and gaze into the eyes of those who know you and those who don’t...when you gaze into the eyes of those you love and those who frustrate you and those who pass you on street corners and greet you at empty counters with empty stares...when you gaze into the eyes of strangers and those who sit next to you at church...when you gaze into those eyes and you look and talk and move just as you always have....whose eyes will they see looking back at them? Will they be yours or will they pause and search your face and say...I never noticed this before...but...you have your Fathers eyes.
Life happens. John and I pioneered two churches and in between the two we went home to our mother church and let God lead us. We had passed through a few valleys over the years and many times our blindness was our own doing...but always the Lord was there. I wrote the following poem during one of those valleys. The poem is not so much about children but about the child in each of us and at the time it was about the child in both John and I that God was so desperately wanting to heal.
The Arms of Mercy - 1998
Face without name, forever bears the cost, Innocence lost
Guilt thinly veiled can not mask, poisoned past.
Oh wounded heart, shattered dreams
Who can bear your silent screams for mercy
No place to run, where can I hide
Who can bear your silent cries
Who can bear those pleading eyes
That bruise me, rip through me
Oh shattered fragment of a child
Your eyes, they do accuse me.
White washed smile, fading in the shadows breaking
Embittered heart, bound and chained
Bears the guilt and the shame without mercy
The Lords mercy
Oh wounded heart, shattered child
Pray your heart no more defiled
Pray He hold His wounded child
Forever, in His torn and bleeding arms of Mercy