• Shortly before my father died I visited him in the hospital in Wales

    Shortly before my father died I visited him in the hospital in Wales. He’d been in the hospital for two weeks as I arrived. It was rather strange visiting my father there, because he’d never been hospitalized in his life.

    His eyes were shut the whole time I was there, until I was about to leave. Then they opened, and he looked straight at me. Seeing his eyes open to the point that he recognized my presence was a sweet moment. I had journeyed 20 hours by air and land to get there, and his concentrated look said it all: I was there, and he could see me.

    One of the challenges Jesus gave to His disciples was to keep their eyes open for God’s provisions as they journeyed. That wasn’t easy, because Jesus indicates that for every person who would welcome them, many more would not. In that kind of environment it’s easier to stop looking and harder to keep our eyes right. It’s hard to keep our expectancy levels high when we are surrounded by challenges and obstacles, isn’t it?

    As difficult as it may be, I can’t help but notice a recurring pattern. Have you noticed how many times those who travelled in faith had to be careful about what they looked at and looked for? Abram had to travel, and he was told to head for the land that God would show him. Lot’s wife travelled, and unfortunately she looked the wrong way. Moses and Joshua travelled, and both of them were surrounded by people who simply could not see the miracles that took place.

    You know why? Their hearts weren’t right.

    I think that’s why, in Ephesians 1:17-18, Paul prays that the eyes of the Ephesian church’s hearts would be opened to see the extent of God’s hope, His immeasurable riches and incredible power. Perhaps that’s why Jesus Himself says, “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light” (Matthew 6:22).

    There have been times in my ministry when I have not seen as clearly as I have needed to. What I have learned, however, is that my not seeing clearly does not mean that God hasn’t shown me. It often has meant that my heart needed to be changed.

    I remember getting frustrated with the Lord a while back about needing the Lord to provide a leader for our foster-care ministry. When I acknowledged my frustration before God, “suddenly”  Irene Smith – the pint-size dynamo, as she is known – was presented to me. She’d been there all the time. What had changed? My heart.

    Did you know that the people who see Jesus clearly in Matthew’s Gospel are the ones who are unable to see physically? Interesting that the blind could “see,” and that’s why Jesus helped them see! In Matthew chapter 1 Jesus is introduced as the Son of David and throughout the Gospel it is the blind who ‘see’ this and confess it!

    As you seek the Lord ask Him to speak to your heart. Ask Him to change your heart. When you give Him that right, you will be amazed to see what God has in store.

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