Open My Eyes That I May See
for He who is in you is greater than He who is in the world.
1 John 4:4
Years ago, when my children were 9 & 5, I was struck with a debilitating illness that not only effected me physically, but mentally as well, as I suffered with extreme anxiety. You can read more about that journey here.
For those of you who suffer with debilitating anxiety, you know what can happen when a situation arises where you are required to spend many days at home, when you are finally able to leave the house, you develop an agoraphobia of sorts, and fear grips you just at the very thought of leaving the protection of your four walls. This indeed happened to me after I had spent six weeks essentially bed-ridden, already having suffered with incredible anxiety.
Even though my physical body had healed, my mental state still had a ways to go...
In an effort to overcome my anxiety, I would purposefully exercise trust in the Lord, and every morning take the kids for a ride in the car around 8:30 a.m. when Chuck Swindoll was sharing a sermon on our local Christian radio station. It was comforting to listen to the Word as I drove. Each day, I would drive a little bit farther away from my home with my mind stayed on the Word of the Lord coming through my radio...
As time went on, there were random obligations that came up, where I would need to venture out alone. It was then that I clung to my life verse for dear life.
Be strong and courageous.
Do not be afraid or terrified because of them,
for the Lord your God goes with you;
he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
I still remember driving away from my home, heading up the hill toward the main road in our town, and willing myself to envision Jesus sitting right next to me. It was a comforting exercise, but I was still depending on myself to abide with Him rather than trusting and believing that His presence was already with me...
I was recently listening to Charles Stanley and was intrigued by a book he mentioned by J. Hudson Taylor called the Spiritual Secret. He specifically focused on the chapter called "The Exchanged Life", excerpts of which I have shared below...
I prayed, agonized, fasted, strove, made resolutions, read the Word more diligently, sought more time for meditation––but all without avail. Every day, almost every hour, the consciousness of sin oppressed me...
...I knew that if only I could abide in Christ all would be well, but I could not. I would begin the day with prayer, determined not to take my eye off Him for a moment, but pressure of duties, sometimes very trying, and constant interruptions apt to be so wearing, caused me to forget Him. Then one's nerves get so fretted in this climate that temptations to irritability, had thoughts and sometimes unkind words are all the more difficult to control. Each day brought its register of sin and failure, of lack of power. To will was indeed "present with me," but how to perform I found not...
...I knew I was powerless. I told the Lord so, and asked Him to give me help and strength. Sometimes I almost believed that He would keep and uphold me; but on looking back in the evening––alas! There was but sin and failure to confess and mourn before God...
...I strove for faith, but it would not come; I tried to exercise it, but in vain. Seeing more and more the wondrous supply of grace laid up in Jesus, the fullness of our precious Savior, my guilt and helplessness seemed to increase. Sins committed appeared but as trifles compared with the sin of unbelief which was their cause, which could not or would not take God at His word. . . .
I prayed for faith, but it came not. What was I to do?
But how to get faith strengthened? Not by striving after faith, but by resting on the Faithful One."...
As I read, I saw it all! "If we believe not, he abideth faithful." I looked to Jesus and saw (and when I saw, oh, how joy flowed)! That He had said, "I will never leave thee."...
..."Ah, there is rest!" I thought. "I have striven in vain to rest in Him. I'll strive no more. For has not He promised to abide with me––never to leave me, never to fail me?" And, . . . He never will...
...As I thought of the Vine and the branches, what light the blessed Spirit poured direct into my soul! How great seemed my mistake in wishing to get the sap, the fullness out of Him! I saw not only that Jesus will ever leave me, but that I am a member of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. The vine is not the root merely, but all––root, stem, branches, twigs, leaves, flowers, fruit. And Jesus is
not that alone––He is soil and sunshine, air and showers, and ten thousand times more than
we have ever dreamed, wished for or needed. Oh, the joy of seeing this truth! I do pray that the eyes of your understanding too may be enlightened, that you may know
and enjoy the riches freely given us in Christ...
...The sweetest part, . . . is the rest which full identification with Christ brings. I am no longer anxious about anything, as I realize this; for He, I know, is able to carry out His will, and His will is mine. It makes no matter where He places me, or how. That is rather for Him to consider than for me; for in the easiest position He must give me His grace, and in the most difficult His grace is sufficient. . . . So, if God should place me in serious perplexity, must He not give me much guidance; in positions of great difficulty, much grace; in circumstances of great pressure and trials, much strength? No fear that His resources will prove unequal to the emergency! And His resources are mine, for He is mine, and is with me and dwells in me...
...And since Christ has thus dwelt in my heart by faith, how happy I have been! . . . I am no better than before. In a sense, I do not wish to be, nor am I striving to be. But I am dead and buried with Christ––ay, and risen too! And now Christ lives in me, and "the life that I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."
I was especially encouraged by the Truth that I no longer have reason to be anxious about anything when I realize that my Heavenly Father is able to carry out His will and His will is mine. When I wholly accept that Truth, no matter what situation He places me in, I will know that His grace is sufficient for me.
When I see EVERYTHING that touches my life as God's will and accept that will as mine, I will experience peace in sickness or trial; gratitude in frustration; calmness in turmoil, and a loving spirit when wronged.
Allowing God's will to abide in me will bring about the right response to all situations that touch my life, good or bad.
I felt like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders when I realized how much I had been striving rather than resting in God's presence that already resides in me.
However, it will be important for me to see EVERYTHING that happens in my day through the filter of God's will, and that will take discipline on my part since I have been operating in Karen's will for years!
I confess there are times that I have been afraid of God's will, especially if I thought it would mean pain, but I recently read the following passage from 2 Kings chapter 6 and found encouragement to pray big that the Lord would help me to see His will, no matter how it plays out, as His protection and preservation, leading me to victory in Jesus.
Once when the king of Syria was warring against Israel, he took counsel with his servants, saying, “At such and such a place shall be my camp.” 9 But the man of God sent word to the king of Israel, “Beware that you do not pass this place, for the Syrians are going down there.” 10 And the king of Israel sent to the place about which the man of God told him. Thus he used to warn him, so that he saved himself there more than once or twice.
11 And the mind of the king of Syria was greatly troubled because of this thing, and he called his servants and said to them, “Will you not show me who of us is for the king of Israel?” 12 And one of his servants said, “None, my lord, O king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.” 13 And he said, “Go and see where he is, that I may send and seize him.” It was told him, “Behold, he is in Dothan.” 14 So he sent there horses and chariots and a great army, and they came by night and surrounded the city.
15 When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” 16 He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17 Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 18 And when the Syrians came down against him, Elisha prayed to the Lord and said, “Please strike this people with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness in accordance with the prayer of Elisha. 19 And Elisha said to them, “This is not the way, and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom you seek.” And he led them to Samaria.
20 As soon as they entered Samaria, Elisha said, “O Lord, open the eyes of these men, that they may see.” So the Lord opened their eyes and they saw, and behold, they were in the midst of Samaria. 21 As soon as the king of Israel saw them, he said to Elisha, “My father, shall I strike them down? Shall I strike them down?” 22 He answered, “You shall not strike them down. Would you strike down those whom you have taken captive with your sword and with your bow? Set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink and go to their master.” 23 So he prepared for them a great feast, and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. And the Syrians did not come again on raids into the land of Israel.
2 Kings 6:8-23
"This is the prayer we need to pray for ourselves and for one another, “Lord, open our eyes that we may see”; for the world all around us, as well as around the prophet, is full of God’s horses and chariots, waiting to carry us to places of glorious victory. And when our eyes are thus opened, we shall see in all events of life, whether great or small, whether joyful or sad, a “chariot” for our souls." -- Hannah Whitall Smith
May we all be aware of Christ's abiding presence, and allow His Spirit to bring every situation, throughout the day, into the light of His will, and may the Lord open our eyes to see - see God's chariots ready to carry us in victory through Christ Jesus.
Jesus, I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee,
And Thy beauty fills my soul,
For by Thy transforming power,
Thou hast made me whole.
Jesus, I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.
O, how great Thy loving kindness,
Vaster, broader than the sea!
O, how marvelous Thy goodness,
Lavished all on me!
Yes, I rest in Thee, Belovèd,
Know what wealth of grace is Thine,
Know Thy certainty of promise,
And have made it mine.
Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,
I behold Thee as Thou art,
And Thy love, so pure, so changeless,
Satisfies my heart;
Satisfies its deepest longings,
Meets, supplies its every need,
Compasseth me round with blessings:
Thine is love indeed!
Ever lift Thy face upon me
As I work and wait for Thee;
Resting ’neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus,
Earth’s dark shadows flee.
Brightness of my Father’s glory,
Sunshine of my Father’s face,
Keep me ever trusting, resting,
Fill me with Thy grace.
Jean S. Pigott
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