Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Open the Eyes of My Heart

We sang this song at church on Sunday. I learned it in college and it tends to bring a certain meaning to my worship times. It reminds me of different times in my life and many times of worship. The song used to be one of my favorites. I used to smile at hearing the opening chords. When I was down, hearing the song reminded me of happier times.

I spent one summer on a mission trip where we sang praise songs every morning. That summer the song made me homesick; made me cry. Whenever I hear this song, I retreat to my own little world. Over the past few years I've hardly heard it, but when I have, it has filled me not with joy or homesickness, but awe and fear. To be perfectly honest, I'm terrified to, as the lyrics beg, "see You."

I don't want to see God. I mean, I do, of course and I long to see Him-- when He has brought me up to Glory with Him. At the thought of seeing God, I find myself less like Thomas, boldly asking to touch His side, and more like Isaiah, crying, "I am ruined!" I know that Christ has "bridged the gap" between God and man, but I am still afraid.

Maybe it's my Catholic upbringing, the one that had me fearing morning lightening bolts for forgetting bedtime prayer-- literally. It was that God who scared me away from religion at all. Who wants a god who will strike him down for simply being human? And yet, though my frequent sacrilegious humor would suggest otherwise, it is that God I still fear.

I think it's healthy to fear God, though perhaps not to the extent that I sometimes do-- and not nearly to the extent that I most often find myself where I forgo any fear at all. Jesus is not my buddy. He is not my pal. He is my friend, yes. But He is also my King and my Savior and my Lord. He deserves reverence. He offers grace and mercy. We deserve death. He offers adoption into His family.

Just as adoptive parents ought not lord it over their adopted children, neither does God lord His adoption of us over us. Just as adoptive parents do, God cherishes us as His children and as gifts. As the Christmas season draws near and I think of so many gifts that will be opened and tossed aside, I think about the gift of adoption. Adoption is gift to both parent and child. It is a gift to be cherished and revered.

This isn't to say that the parents and children don't still get in fights; that the children don't still disobey and the parents don't lose their tempers. It isn't to say that the children won't go afoul, go astray, have a hard time looking into their parents' eyes when they've lied. Too often, my human state leads me to many a situation where I lie not only to my adoptive Father, but to myself, thinking that it'll be alright. After these situations, I find myself like that disobedient child, looking at the floor, kicking the dirt.

Unfortunately, these situations happen so often that I find my head easily bowed, not out of reverence, but fear and shame. Fortunately, my Father is not ashamed of me and there is no fear in Him (for He is Love and there is no fear in Love). What I am thankful for, then, this Thanksgiving, is not only my adoption and my redemption and His forgiveness; it's that He lifts my head and allows me to look on His splendor, allows me to be bathed in His beauty while I would have wallowed in my filth. For, even when I am terrified of asking to see Him, even when I don't want to see Him, He wants to see me.