One of my former colleagues was a biology teacher who gave his students a task one day. They were each given a tiny plot of ground outside, several square inches, and asked to observe it for the entire class, recording what they saw. At first they complained. This is stupid, a waste of time. Then they started to notice the different types of grass and weeds. Then it was the tiny insects. Then the dirt and dust. And then they would realize how alive it all was. They saw something they had never seen before. The problem was not in the reality. The problem was their lack of sight.
I have the same problem. I’m not a visual person, so lots of things go right past me. I just miss stuff. Contrast that to my daughter Rachel. She is so visual that she can identify people just by seeing their eyebrows. She sees what I don’t or can’t (or both).
This year will be a milestone year for me for many reasons. I want to see. I want to see what I haven’t seen before. I want to walk through 2012 fully aware. Often I miss things because I am self-consumed. I miss what others are feeling. I miss how God is working. I miss the good things he is giving me. But I don’t want that. I need new eyes. I need to see what I haven’t seen before.
Walking with God always leads us here. In fact, Paul prays for the church that we would receive new eyes: “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened.” (Eph. 1:18) What do we need to be enlightened to see? The verse goes on to mention three things:
- There is a wondrous good coming after this life that is exceeds anything we could possibly dream up.
- We are each a treasure to God the Father, an inheritance he is delighted to receive.
- We are given an incredible strength to live this life, the same power that released Jesus from the abyss of death.
These are precisely the three things I often miss. I get trapped into believing this life is it (with the attendant despair). I listen to the voices that say I am unimportant and unworthy (with the associated shame). I walk out of my own pitiful resources (with the resultant exhaustion).
But…what if I saw? What if you saw? What if the eyes of our hearts were opened? I think we would see what we have never seen before. And I think 2012 would be very different.