“The most dangerous prayer is ‘God, let me see with your eyes.’” I heard this said during a revival at my church, and they echoed a desire in my heart to be burdened by the very things that burden the heart of God. I had recently attended a “Walk to Emmaus,” and during this spiritual retreat, I wanted to try and focus my attention and prayers on just one concern. I was tempted to spend the three-day weekend petitioning God about the direction he had for our family in the not-too-distant future. Moving to Africa was not even on our minds at the time, but I sensed a big change was on the horizon. Still, I felt that God was less concerned about where we go and what we do than with our motivations. That’s what I needed work on. I needed to be moved by what moves Christ, love what Christ loves and have compassion on others as Christ does. I wanted him to “expand my heart.” I poured out my heart to God that weekend, and he deepened this desire.
I think part of seeing with the eyes of Christ is having compassion on others. We relate to those who have had similar experiences. I believe that is why God allows us to experiences various joys as well as pains. Before marriage, I couldn’t really appreciate the sweetness of a love song, nor could I quite understand the level of self-renunciation required to make a marriage work well. God has blessed me and Eva tremendously. We are growing closer and closer to one another and Christ each day, even if those changes sometimes take place in the crucible of conflict. Eva and I want to see our own marriage continue to thrive, and we are both pained deeply when we see couples struggling. We know that the seeds of selfishness that drive couples apart reside, too, in our own hearts. Only with the vigilance of Christ will they keep from taking root.
In four short years, Eva and I grew to a family of five. We had to make adjustments quickly. No longer do we get angry when other kids are kicking our seatbacks on the airplane (even if we have less tolerance for our own children doing the same in the car!) There is very little downtime for either of us with three boys aged 1, 2, and 4. It is a lot of fun, but also a lot of work. We hardly notice when one or two extra children are over at the house or spending the day with us. We have come to love kids, and not just our own. Teaching second grade this year gave me the opportunity to understand and relate to eight-year-olds better. I learned to love them more as a result. In yet another way, God has been expanding my heart.
Family. At least for me and Eva, this is the means of our sanctification. God loves families and he created them to be salt, to have a preservative effect on the earth. We want our family to be a blessing to others. This is one of the reasons why teaching at RVA appealed so much to both of us, and I believe this calling is an answer to my prayer for God to open my eyes. We want to be a family on mission that supports other families on mission, some of whom are separated from each other for weeks at a time. We intend to model a healthy marriage, and we look forward to loving the kids at RVA and being part of their extended family.
I pray that the Lord would continue to open my heart, deepen my loves and see others as he sees them. In the words of Brandon Heath, I pray:
Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken-hearted
Ones that are far beyond my reach.
Give me your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me your eyes so I can see