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Heart Matters: My Father's Eyes

I have my father's eyes -- dark, snapping brown that seem to seek out everything at once. When people remark on the resemblance, I'm flattered. Yet I much do I really see?

On takeoff during a recent early-morning flight, I was amazed at the details that came into view as I gazed out my tiny airplane window. I saw yards with bright blue dots of swimming pools, swing sets with climbing ropes, and Big Wheels toppled onto blacktop. Minivans and station wagons backed out of garages while school buses crawled along like a trail of yellow jelly beans. I was seeing a neighborhood beginning its day.

As the plane climbed, my view broadened and one neighborhood multiplied into dozens. There were hundreds of homes, yards, and driveways crowded together, intersected by patches of trees and snaking roadways. It was overwhelming to imagine how many families those homes represented. And I was struck by the enormity of what God sees and acts upon.

I pictured God seeing a toddler crawling toward a swimming pool -- nudging a mother to look up in time. I imagined God urging a father to call to his son to change his footing before he slips and falls. Imagining the world through God's eyes, I saw God moving speeding cars out of crosswalks and slowing trains as school buses crossed their tracks.

As my plane reached its cruising altitude, my view was obscured by a thick layer of clouds. From my window seat, I could only see from one perspective -- that from above. Details faded at my rapid pace, far above any actual involvement in the people's lives I'd glimpsed.

Thankfully, God doesn't stand far away; God gets involved. He directs our lives, up close and personal. Using sight that encompasses all of humanity, God still reaches out and touches us individually. God sees fear on the face of a child about to fall. God knows the bus driver's name and reaction time. God knows the route a parent takes when delivering kids to school. God cares for us individually.

That morning I was challenged to do the same in my ministry. My vision -- my perspective -- needs to change. I need to see people through God's eyes. I don't know whether a parent has had a sleepless night or what kind of day a child is facing or where someone will be in a year. I can't see into their hearts -- or even their back yards -- from where I stand, but I can ask God for a glimpse into their lives.

God doesn't promise to give me crystal-clear hindsight or knowledge of the future, but he does desire for me to use his eyes in my ministry. Eyes that see a child who needs a Savior. Eyes for a parent who needs a comforting word or a family desperate for a gentle touch. With God's eyes, my view widens to see individuals facing struggles, fears, triumphs, and sorrows.

After that flight, I took a good, hard look at my ministry. I asked to see each person as God does. I asked to understand God's love and care for each of us, and to share his burden in meeting people's needs. Oh, I can look down from a distance. Or I can have my Father's eyes that seek to meet people where they are.

Do I have my Father's eyes? I pray so.

Kandi Elliott is a director of children's ministries in Lansing, Illinois.

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