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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Are you hiding from God?


Be generous with me and I'll live a full life; not for a minute will I take my eyes off your road.  Open my eyes so I can see what you show me of your miracle-wonders.  I'm a stranger in these parts; give me clear directions. 
(Psalm 119:17-19 The Message)

When we travel through unfamiliar areas, it is not uncommon to be a little uneasy on the roadways, uncertain about where we turn off, merge, etc.  In fact, we might even be a little unfamiliar with the "customs" of the area.  I first encountered "sweet tea" when I ordered my first glass of iced tea in the South.  I had no idea there were two kinds of tea!  In the South, sweet tea is the "norm".  In Arizona, tea with lemon is!  In the South, most things are fried.  In the Arizona desert, most things are baked, broiled, or served with salad!  

God knew that traveling daily with him would bring us into some "unfamiliar" territory.  His precepts are not always the easiest to grasp - his directions sometimes a little fuzzy for us to really "get" the first time around.  In fact, if we only casually listen to them, we can get ourselves into quite a pickle!  David's prayer was to be in a place where his eyes were continually focused on the one who gives the direction - God.  

Yet, in these verses, there is a little contradiction.  Did you catch it?  Look again.  David sets out the idea that HE will not take his eyes off God's path - he will stay focused on where God is leading him.  Then, in the very next breath, he asks God to open his eyes!  This is how we are, isn't it!  We proudly proclaim we are focusing all our attention on God - dedicating our lives to his service - then in the next breath we sigh, "Where'd ya go, God?"  

The straight truth is God knows our eyes don't always focus on him and him alone!  We get "inward" focused.  That is what happens when we close our eyes. We begin to look inward - our imaginations free to create whatever image they wish to conjure up.  Closed eyes are not focused on anything external to self.  They simply focus on us!

I think David might be giving us a little insight here.  We "commit" to walking with our eyes fully open - looking outward toward God and others - but in just a short time, we find ourselves looking inward again.  The tendency to do this is quite prevalent in our society - even in believers.  Why is this the case?  It is easier to keep our eyes shut, closely caring for our own needs and wants, shutting out what it is God sets clearly in our path.  The only thing is that we miss the "miracle-wonders" of God when we do!

As long as we stay "inward-focused", we miss God's revelations along the path we are walking.  We don't see how others play a part in our growth.  We miss the transformation of grace right in front of us.  David hit the nail squarely on the head when he showed us the two sides of the issue - we close our eyes to God's leading, preferring to stay focused on self.  No wonder we struggle with walking upright and God-directed lives!

Here's the cold, hard truth:  As long as we focus inward (eyes closed), we may miss the direction God sets in front of our eyelids!  Have you ever had your eyes shut and someone turns on a light in the room?  Even through the "cover" of your eyelids, the light begins to filter through.  This is how God's truth is - it filters through even when we are "closed off" to his direction!  Thank goodness!  God doesn't leave us long with our "inward focus" - he shines light that breaks through the barriers we set up!

We are all strangers in these parts!  None of us has figured out this walk with God completely!  No one possesses all the insight and revelation God provides.  Yet, we learn from each other - the miracle-wonders of God you experience are trail-markers that another can follow!  We only see them with opened eyes.  David struggles as much as we do - turning his gaze inward on more than one occasion.  In those times, God's light always broke through, opening him to new direction.  

If you have been "closing" your eyes to God's direction, know this:  His light WILL break through your "closed" eyes!  His light is more powerful than your ability to shut him out!  If you have struggled with remaining attentive to his direction, know this:  His trail-markers are still there when you open up to him again!