Lift Up Your Eyes

Alisa Ballou

Posted On: 

January 28, 2021

Jesus says to lift up our eyes? That isn't natural at all. Walking to the school where our kids go, there are many days it's easy to have a completely different focus, mostly just tangled around, well, self. "Do I actually have time to come here and teach once a week? I wonder how many ways there are to teach ‘How are you?’ to the tinier children here? I hope the teachers treat my children well today when they don’t follow instructions given in a language they don't yet grasp...”

This pre-school is a Christian one, one of maybe a handful out of the thousands of otherwise Buddhist schools in the country. Though the children all come from Buddhist families, wear their charms to school, and go to the temple with their parents, at school they hear about the true and living God. Their school year ends this week, and the oldest kids move on to receive the normal Thai education that’s steeped in the darkness of Buddhism.

I watch Brody, our three year old who is still a bit of a novelty, lead a pack of other children running after him all laughing and care free. All of the children’s hearts are still free from decades of lies about a false god and religious system; the soil of their hearts is new and fertile. They all laugh so heartily and freely, love fully, and trust easily. Looking up at the children makes me see clearly, if just for a moment. These few represent millions of other children in this country, and billions just in this corner of the world who are equally beautiful, have equally tender and delightful hearts, as the children I’ve come to love here. See them and you think, “Of course Jesus loves children and asks us to have their kind of faith.”

Instead of selfishness and weariness comes intense gratitude for truth I’ve been fed (so rare even in America) via family, church, and school. Instead of hoarding my time, I want to give it. Instead of cringing at having to give up my rights to pretty much anything, I remember nothing is my own anyway.

Whatever we look at the most is what we become like. What if, by keeping our eyes on Him, we could begin to think like Jesus? His ministry was anything but natural. “Our Lord never evidenced the slightest sign of fear or cunning or diplomacy. He was never suspicious of anyone, yet He trusted no one except His Father. Consequently, He was never vindictive, nor was He ever humiliated. It is only possible to be humiliated when we are serving our own pride.”—Oswald Chambers. Ministry with that strength of mind and purity of service was only possible because of Jesus’s own pure vision.

So put concisely, what does it mean to lift up our eyes? Looking to Jesus first (Hebrews 12:2), then learning to see like Jesus does (John 4:35). And that changes everything.

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