Through His Eyes

Recently I have had the joy of spending some time with my newest grandson.  It has been many years since I was responsible for such a little one for any extended time. While the necessities of caring for an infant came back pretty quickly, i.e., feeding, cuddling, changing diapers (still don’t like that one) I had forgotten the magic there is in just observing a baby!

What is particularly amazing to me is his reaction when he sees something. His beautiful blue eyes open wide, he sometimes smiles, and almost always makes some kind of reactionary sound. At least for now, I assume these reactions are because he is seeing something for the first time…something he likes or interests him. His reaction also convicts me; because I know he is also watching me. Does what he see from me make him wide-eyed, with a smile, and a sound of approval?

Parents especially, but others who are part of a child’s early years, are under the microscope. What they see and hear from us impacts their lives and contributes greatly to who they become. Now I am going to reveal a secret that has been long kept. So, hear this parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, friend, teacher, and all others who are involved in a child’s life…none of us are perfect! Children are going to see and hear things that we would like to have an “undo” button to click on. I believe the key is how we react to our “less than perfect moments” before the child.

Consider if we can get an understanding of how God sees us is how a child sees us. Job 34:21 says, “For His eyes are upon the ways of a man, And He sees all his steps.” Job’s faith was tested, he was given bad advice from friends, and eventually he was blessed greatly because of his faith and reaction to his trials and tribulations. All the while he was being watched by God and presumably the people around him—including children. Who did not give him bad advice?—God and children. Who did not throw him away as a lost cause?—God and children. Who gave him a loving look through their eyes?—God and children.

God and babies love us; they both look at our steps, our actions, our words, our attitudes, our reactions. Our responsibility is to love and serve both and live a life worthy of the love they offer. My goal is to get bright eyes, a huge smile, and an “I love you” from both of them in every step I take!

#588

Below is my testimony that is shared at 1millionstories.org.  I encourage you to visit this site because it has some amazing personal stories of faith journeys. My story is #588.

“I was the beneficiary of growing up in a home with wonderful, loving parents and siblings. We belonged to a Catholic church and I remember attending classes and services learning about the church and religion, but not so much about God.

After I enlisted in the Air Force my life was pretty good. We had a beautiful baby girl and my career was going very well…and then it took a turn for the worst and the result was a divorce. The leaders of the Catholic church I attended at the time basically “uninvited” me to be part of them since I was now divorced. Please know, I am not bashing Catholicism (I love and respect many Catholics) but just stating my experience with that particular group of people. Well, being rather young and naïve I interpreted this as God rejecting me and so I decided to reject Him.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, God never rejected me and He had a plan to bring me into a personal relationship with Him—when God says He is going to do something He does it! He brought together a girl from Sacramento, California to meet a guy from Independence, Missouri in Fairbanks, Alaska, even while neither of us were following Him. But He put love in our lives and we got married despite the odds.

God then added a son and daughter to this unlikely union. Through some miraculous events we ended up at a tent revival and learned about the personal relationship Jesus Christ wanted to have with us.

I dug in my heals because of fear, hurt, and pessimism. What I was hearing is that when you ask Jesus Christ to be Lord of your life you must submit to Him and trust Him in all things, and be obedient to His plan—whoa! But I also heard that He would walk every step of the way with me and when necessary He would place me in His arms and carry me.

One Sunday morning it happened. We attended a church that was meeting in a school gymnasium and as the Pastor spoke about the grace and love of Jesus he invited anyone wanting to accept the Living God as their Savior and Lord to come forward. It came on me, rather unexpectedly, that it was time to drop my ego and fear and to submit.

It was the greatest decision of my life!

It also fundamentally changed the course of my life. I am convinced it saved our marriage and I now not only have a wonderful wife, I have an eternal sister in Christ! I like to think it made me a better husband, father, son, brother, friend, and now grandpa—a better man.

It took me on a path that was focused on “potential earnings” to one of “potential impact”. A master’s degree in technology would have certainly put more money in the bank account then a seminary degree—but as I said earlier, when God says He is going to do something—He does it! He does it and uses it for His glory!

I am not completely sure to this day where He is leading me, but I trust that He loves me and would never place more on me than I can handle. So, I choose to be obedient (or at least strive to be) when I hear His calling. Be it becoming ordained, teaching Sunday School, writing about my faith journey, or working whatever job to provide for my family and to be generous to others, I walk in trust and obedience knowing full well that God never has or ever will reject me!”

Nearly-Perfect

The past week I observed my brother, who is suffering a major medical issue, display nearly-perfect courage. I was the recipient of an act of nearly-perfect love from my wife. I heard testimony from a new friend who told me his story which includes nearly-perfect forgiveness. I even got to watch a rookie pitcher on the Kansas City Royals pitch a nearly-perfect baseball game.

I guarantee these four people would tell you they are nowhere near being nearly-perfect! While I agree, because none of us are, I am talking about their nearly-perfect reaction to a situation…how they showed courage…how they showed love…how they showed forgiveness.
2 Timothy 1:7 reads, “For God gave us not a spirit of fearfulness; but of power and love and discipline.” Seventeen years ago, the world witnessed nearly-perfect courage, love, and discipline at The World Trade Center, The Pentagon, and over a field in Pennsylvania. We remember them, as we should; we memorialize them, as we should; we honor them, as we should. Victims and responders alike responded to extraordinary events in extra-ordinary ways…nearly-perfect!

Out of the tragedy of that day came stories of courage and love that will inspire us throughout history. I have also heard and read stories where seeking forgiveness was the last subject of a person’s life. Husbands calling their wife asking forgiveness as they faced certain death. Supervisors asking employees for forgiveness as they lay trapped under cement slabs. People asking their loved ones forgiveness as they decided to jump to death instead of staying in a roaring inferno.

I also have heard and read stories where people, in their most desperate moment, humbled themselves and asked God for forgiveness. While it is not our place to know the legitimacy of these stories, just understanding human nature tells us this is true. Many people call on God at their darkest moment for salvation. All I know is what Scripture tells us, Romans 10:10 says this of our relationship with Jesus Christ, “For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”

In archery competition, the goal is to hit the bullseye—to be perfect. If you miss the bullseye even by a millimeter it is ruled a “sin”. You missed the mark, you are good but not perfect and the reason you miss does not matter—you are accountable. None of us are perfect.

Jesus is not nearly-perfect—He is perfection! Perfect in courage; perfect in love; perfect in forgiveness; perfect in every way! All we must do is accept His free gift of perfection; be it at a Church, your home, or a burning building.