I woke up early this morning and the house was completely still and silent. My favorite. The sun was shining, the sky was bold and blue, and it looked like it was going to be a beautiful day as I stood at the back door watching the morning come to life. Four bluejays, a pair of cardinals, a myriad of sparrows, and a squirrel were having breakfast at the bird feeder. A young bunny hopped through the fence and was promptly greeted by another. They immediately engaged in a game of chase…not sure if they were looking for love or for a fight but I still enjoyed the pregame show. My heart welled up to overflowing at the bounty and beauty of all the natural scenery.
Not sure why the words came…maybe because it’s Father’s Day weekend or maybe just seeing the beauty and wonder of creation; but my mind immediately began playing the old Amy Grant song Father’s Eyes:
When people look inside my life, I want to hear them say,She’s got her Father’s eyes,
Her Father’s eyes;
Eyes that find the good in things,
When good is not around;
Eyes that find the source of help,
When help just can’t be found;
Eyes full of compassion,
Seeing every pain;
Knowing what you’re going through
And feeling it the same.
Just like my Father’s eyes…
The words are pretty straightforward but, looking back, I’m not sure I fully understood the song as a teenager with limited experience and worldview.
What does that even mean? Father’s eyes? Some fathers teach their kids about football, baseball, or fishing. History, space, politics. Relation, interaction, confidence, belief. Some don’t. So they may teach them to do or to be, but what do they teach them to see?
I recently finished studying Genesis. What a way to look at the big picture through my Father’s eyes…eyes that find the good in things, when good is not around; eyes that find the source of help, when help just can’t be found, eyes full of compassion..
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light…And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds…” And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.
And it is so good. I have a shirt that says Life Is Good, so it must be true, right? But sometimes it’s hard too. I read it in Genesis, I’ve seen it on the news and in people’s lives, and I’ve lived it.
…Eyes that find the good in things, when good is not around…
Sometimes I look at my backyard and marvel. Shortly after we first moved in, I stood in the backyard and cried. Cried. I loved the new house but the back yard was empty and houses were everywhere I looked. I felt so exposed but so alone. No privacy, no comfort. no cozy homey feeling. I was thankful, I was blessed; but it still wasn’t my garden, my Eden, my place to tend and nurture and commune with God. So… we created! Trees and flowers and birdhouses and feeders and cheap yard ornaments… Well we didn’t actually create trees and all the other stuff; but we created space, a habitat, and a view. Sanctuary.
What does all that have to do with Genesis, an Amy Grant song, and waking up too early? Sometimes I feel like the creator of my yard. I look at it and it is good. It brings me joy and peace and comfort. A healthy sense of pride and accomplishment. But like the real world, my little backyard world sees both joy and pain, life and loss.
…Eyes that find the source of help when help just can’t be found...
Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Mt 6:26-29
Sometimes in the little picture of life, I see my back yard as a reflection of the big world. There is life and beauty and provision; but sometimes there is struggle, sickness, and death. I just want all the animals to have provision and safety and all the plants and trees to thrive. Birds, bunnies, squirrels, possums, raccoons, toads, even a snake have all inhabited the yard and have delighted us all. (except maybe the snake) But they’ve also seen struggles, loss, bullying, predators, changing seasons. They’ve weathered harsh climate, circling hawks, empty feeders, bigger bullies, a prowling cat, and loud, clumsy dogs.
…Eyes full of compassion, seeing every pain…
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Mt 9:36
Okay…maybe that’s a stretch to compare human spiritual conditions and worldly struggles to animals in a semi-controlled habitat; but it’s a picture of care that I believe God has put on my heart. The sadness or anger or hurt or injustice or pleasure or satisfaction I feel when I watch life unfold in the backyard is minuscule compared with the heart of God when He sees his creation…both the struggles and the victories, the sadness and the joy.
What does it mean to have His eyes in a sin-sick, broken, desperate world?
There’s a line in a popular contemporary Christian song that changed the way I look at people who may look or act or live differently that I do or think or expect.
One by one the enemy has told them lies and led them off as slaves…
Does that change the way you look at people? It does for me. Addiction, abuse, abandonment, hurt, just plain meanness…
It makes me want to be able to see good, the value, the potential. It makes me want to have compassion, love, and forgiveness and to walk in truth and love. I don’t think it’s easy or natural. Sometimes it even hurts. But it is freeing and is one step closer in making you who He meant you to be.
Well…the bunnies came back. I think they’re friends, flirting not fighting. I just watched them chew my sunflowers and then hop away happily.
My prayer is that my concern, my delight, my compassion will continue to expand well beyond my yard, my family, my circle of friends, my church, my community, the world… I pray that I will have eyes to see, ears to hear, hands to help, and a heart to love.
Happy Father’s Day. May you have your Father’s eyes today.