|(Sunset over the flood plain.. <3 Africa)|
A few of the children from the orphan school came up with us, some of the boys from the village were playing on the hillside, and one little boy was grazing his goats.. The children know how to be loved. Before I knew what was happening, my arms were full of tiny African children! We played. Karen and I took pictures. But while we were up there, I remember watching the children and being overwhelmed as I looked into their eyes. When I looked into their eyes, I saw all the beauty of God's dreams. (I mentioned this in my last post.) I saw destiny deep within those big brown eyes. I got lost in the dreams and plans of God!
About a year ago I was interning at my church in Christiansburg. Roughly twice a month the interns would travel to different affiliated church plants. We would leave early in the morning to get to the plat before the service started, help with odd jobs around the church, and then leave after the service was over. I remember one morning, before leaving, one of the "prophetic guys" prayed for us and encouraged us to look people in the eyes that day--to not shy away from really looking at them. And off we went, over the river and through the woods...
That morning there was little to do, so I sat in on the service. The church was small--maybe 15 people, and they had the seats arranged in a large circle. I couldn't help but look at everyone. As we worshiped, it was awkward--it was intimate. As the pastor spoke to us, God began to speak to me. I remembered the challenge: "Don't be afraid to really look them in the eyes. Something is gonna happen when you do." In those moments, God talked and I listened. He said a lot. I talked to one of the leaders, at the end of church I was handed a microphone and walked around the room telling each person what I heard God say for them. As I spoke I looked them in the eyes... Their hearts unfolded like flowers before me. As I looked into their eyes, I saw them looking into the eyes of the Father and felt the Father looking back into them. It was intimate. It was humbling. The word of God awakened hearts, and it all started with looking them in the eyes.
Today in church I looked around the sanctuary, and I remembered my "African babies;" I remembered the beauty of God's dreams for them. But then as I looked from person to person, in the crowd of 300+ people, I saw all the beauty of God's dreams for the people immediately before me. As I looked at each face, I felt the endless possibilities for destiny; I sensed the works of redemption to be done; I knew that there was an unlimited supply of hope. And it struck me, why don't I see this every time I look at someone? What was different about the children in Zambia? Why do I not always see it? Is it that I just forget to look?
I felt God whisper... "In Zambia you looked because you needed to look;You needed My heart to help you stand amidst the attacks of hopelessness. At the church plant, you were reminded to look and challenged to not shy away from loving. Today you chose to love and then asked to see."
What would it be like if I lived life looking at hearts instead of faces? Would it be too much? Could I really handle being constantly aware of what God is doing in everyone around me? Could I handle that much love? When I really look into their eyes, it's not about me anymore. When I truly see as He does, how can I not respond?