Thursday, January 16, 2014

Wide-eyed in Wonder and Belief

School shootings, the polar vortex, polluted water, epidemics of every kind, economic disaster, asteroids flying too close to home, and a giant volcano that "could" destroy two thirds of the continent... all these things have passed across my TV and/or computer screen in the last month or so... several of them repeatedly "shared" by well-meaning friends. It's a dark and depressing world out there (in case you haven't noticed). But that doesn't give us an excuse to jump in the doom and gloom pit with everyone else, tossing the mud back and forth. We're called to be lights in a dark place, but sometimes I don't feel very shiny.

Jesus said, "Your eye is a lamp, lighting up your whole body. If you live wide-eyed in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar." Luke 11:34 The Message
Chris Poliquin |

The word "eye" can refer both to the physical eye, as well as to one's vision or perspective, just as the word "body" can refer to the physical form or to one's connection to the world in which we live. Put that way, it would seem that Jesus is telling us our way of looking at things will directly affect the way we feel, and live, and interact with the world around us. It may even affect our physical health, and it certainly has an effect on the people around us! 

English poet William Blake put it this way:
“If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro' narrow chinks of his cavern.” ― William BlakeThe Marriage of Heaven and Hell
Ew. I don't want to see things through "narrow chinks" in my cave... nor do I want to be a "dank cellar." But how often do I find myself peering at people, at circumstances, and at life in general through "squinty-eyes" narrowed to mere slits by greed, or prejudice, or distrust, or fear, or any of the other nasty little things that scuttle around in the darkness of the human soul? Too often. It's entirely too easy to be negative. 

My own little wide-eyed wonder!
Jesus tells us to become as little children, and little children are "wide-eyed in wonder and belief." To a child, the world is filled with the potential for joy. I believe that's how God sees us—all of us—all the time, and how He looks at His creation. Can you picture it? Can you picture yourself "wide-eyed in wonder and belief"? I can guarantee this, you'll look younger and it won't cause wrinkles! 

Fear and sorrow and destruction make us want to scrunch our eyes shut and hide, but that's not the way to be a light in a dark place. We have to change our perspective—our perception—of people, places, things, circumstances, etc. (Even the weather, which is a hard one for me this time of year.) When we do, we'll not only be filled with light ourselves, we will be a light for others. 

Ghandi said "be the change you want to see in the world." Jesus said "be the light." Both are possible.


Niki Turner is a writer, former pastor's wife, mother of four, and grandmother of three. She has thus far been unsuccessful at coming up with catchy taglines for her writing, her purpose in life, or what she hopes to achieve in the future. Suggestions are welcome.


  1. Your post and pic reminds me of iridology, Niki. You're talking of vision and looking out, but I also believe that an experienced iridologist can look at the specks and patterns in your eyes and tell where you're having health problems.

    So, if God made eyes as a two-way street, I wonder... how much of the dark worldly stuff we see affects our bodies and not just our minds?

    Actually, can you imagine if certain diseases were linked to certain physical things we see and not just from free radicals, or airborne diseases, etc?

  2. I wouldn't be at all surprised, Anita! Iridology is fascinating stuff. On that note, I had a chiropractor who would send people home with glasses with colored lenses, different colors depending on their various conditions. The results were amazing... chronic pain, even emotional disorders, were solved.

    What we see (and how we see it) definitely has an effect on us physically!

  3. I have to keep from looking at bad things too much. I don't want to be unaware of important events and I definitely pray about them, but those 24-hour news stations that make their livings off repeating the same bad news over and over and over, I can't take them. I get frustrated and angry that (a) nobody seems to have any common sense, and (b) I can't fix it.


    1. Yes, and all that frustration just builds and builds, doesn't it? I especially get that way when my regular channels preempt programs and spend 6 or 8 hours milking a tragedy for all its worth.

  4. Isn't this why we love grandchildren so much? I've seen a lot of hurting people in my life time but so much joy as well. It's easier than ever to be a bit jaded but seeing how children look at life is such a great reminder.

    1. I think that's a huge reason grandchildren are so wonderful! You suddenly remember what it is to be a child, and you have all this awareness of how SHORT childhood really is.

  5. Niki, I always love your quotes from The Message. This one is no exception. And I love your perspective. You're so wise. :)

    1. Aw. Thanks, Suzie. It's applying that wisdom/knowledge that's the hard part for me!


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