Eye to Eye

Most of us can’t bear the deep penetrating look of love.

Recently, a colleague and psychologist invited an audience to turn to the person beside them and simply look intently at them for 30 seconds—eye to eye, no glancing away. Within moments, the room popped with nervous laughter and chatter. Few, if any of us, could do it. Eyes flickered up and down, side to side. Suddenly the rafters and the walls held peculiar interest! We all tried to avoid the tension that such intensity created. 

Interestingly, babies do just fine. They won’t break the gaze. If a parent looks longingly and lovingly at a baby and speaks soothingly, it will eventually break into a smile. But it rarely breaks the gaze. That’s usually left to the parent.

It seems that the older we get the less comfortable we feel with such intimacy. Sin, self-consciousness, shame, guilt, and fear make the rafters and the walls strangely appealing. And this has profound spiritual implications.

When did you last stop and make serious “eye contact” with Jesus?

We hastily highlight the distractions we face. We point to the chaos of our lives, and excuse our lack of intimacy with Christ on the grounds that we’re exhausted, stressed, or too busy. Too often we write off a close walk with the Lord on the basis of “life stuff.”

In reality, we are deeply uncomfortable with the gaze of God. We dare not stop and lock eyes with Him, because the older that we get, the more unnerving we find such intensity.

But unless we receive the love and affirmation of the Father, we find ourselves bouncing from pillar to post—never settled; never secure. Truth be told, our avoidance of His Presence is less a function of the clock than a function of our hearts.

And our nervous laughter and chatter—our insistence on the safety of superficiality—simply exacerbates the spiritual distance we experience.

Babies do it well. Can we?

Can we hold His gaze for a few minutes today? Just long enough to truly receive those life-giving words: “You are my son, my daughter, whom I love dearly and take great delight in.” Perhaps it will bring a smile to us, too.

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5 Responses to Eye to Eye

  1. Tim Ross says:

    When Simon Peter was in the boat with Jesus after he pulled up a huge haul, Peter said it, “Go away from me Lord for I am a sinner.” When we are in the presence of the Lord we see our sin. As I have submitted myself to His presence, He has washed my sin away. I long for His presence. He is good and He bathes me in grace and truth.

  2. I find myself avoiding eye contact with my ‘neighbors’ all around me even though I don’t want to do this……… Interesting, isn’t it! Why do we allow ourselves to look away when it is precisely this intimacy which we all really want? And, I said allow — on purpose –. No one forces us to look anywhere except in the person’s eyes. Perhaps it is a sense of unconfessed guilt or a wrong attitude that we think we might reveal by deeply looking at the person. Perhaps it is the old teaching from Mom or someone telling us that to ‘stare’ in not ‘nice’. When we look intently at each other we do convey a very real attitude of love and caring. When we really look at Jesus we are, among other things, expressing our gratitude for Who He is and what He has done for and is now doing within and through us. We are also looking for guidance. But how often do we even turn away from Him as well. Out of sight; out of mind????? More importantly, out of sight…….is He slipping out of our hearts as well???

  3. Millie Thompson says:

    Hi David–I tried to get a chance to talk with you at our 50th Celebration, but you seem to be quite popular. This posting is a great call to intimacy with Jesus. Oswald Chambers’ devotional has taught me so much in April and May about this very topic. It has really caused me to reflect. I’ve told you before that I think of you when I read Oswald Chambers material. Both of you are deep thinkers who touch the depth of scripture’s meaning and application to us!
    Millie Thompson – Eastside

  4. Darcy Flye says:

    Thanks for the reminder! I miss our frequent talks about spiritual intimacy— great to follow your blog!

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