Tuesday, April 27, 2010

New Eyes

Shortly after putting out the emotional firestorm brewing in the heart of my wounded eight year old, I sent all three of my children off to school. Now running late, I threw on some clothes, quickly brushed my hair and put on my best fake smile before I rushed off in my car. Though I had started my day optimistic, the drama of the morning had me feeling wilted. Quite honestly, I was more in the mood to hide in my study with a cup of coffee and cyber-spy on my Facebook peeps than "go and be" the church.

Still, I had previously committed to help with the "Step Into Africa" exhibit at my church for "Go and Be" week. It was too late to back out now. So I half-heartedly drove to the exhibit, with a scowl in my heart. Hoping to lift my spirits, I turned on the radio and heard a favorite song called Give Me Your Eyes. seeing my need for an attitude adjustment, God now had my undivided attention.

As I drove, I silently prayed for new eyes...

"Dear God,
It has been a long morning and though the day is only beginning, I am already tired. I need an attitude adjustment. Help me to have your heart. Let me love what you love. Let me hate what you hate. Allow me to see this world with your eyes and let me be the hands and feet of Jesus. Let your people be a help not a hindrance. Show us how to step in compassion and walk in love, respecting the culture of Africa while embracing the needs of its people. Let me step into Africa today, Father, and give me your eyes."

Once I arrived at "Step Into Africa", I no longer had to actively seek for a new perspective. Truly, one would have to be completely void of compassion to have missed the misfortune suffered by the children featured in the exhibit. Being a mother, a teacher, and a woman, my eyes were quickly drawn to the children in the photos hanging on the walls. At first glance, the faces in the pictures seemed much like my own children. But as I studied the eyes looking back at me, I saw a noticeable difference. For these children had faced adversity that would cause most adults to shudder.

Many of the children were orphaned and homeless, desperate for shelter and life's bare essentials. Several were infected by HIV. All of them had seen life altered in some manner due to the AIDS pandemic in Africa. Captivated, I was drawn to the eyes staring back at me in the photos. While dwelling in the harsh realities of severe poverty, childhood had been eliminated for these kids.

For the next few hours, I assisted other visitors, as we conversed and reflected on all we had witnessed in the lives of these sons and daughters of Africa. As the morning quickly faded into afternoon, mine were not the only eyes opened to the plight of these forgotten children. As I reflected on the events of the day, I asked God to "turn my eyes away from worthless things,preserve my life according to your word." (Psalm 119:37 NIV)

"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 brokenhearted. The ones that are far beyond my reach. Give me your heart for the ones forgotten. Give me your eyes so I can see. Lord give me your eyes."-Brandon Heath

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