This past weekend I read a newspaper article written by an atheist about the need for God in the African nations. Ironic? I thought so. Anyway, one thing he wrote that specifically resonated with me was his observation of the distinct difference seen in the eyes of those who had been set free. Growing up in Africa and returning for an extensive visit, this man spent enough time with the native people to be able to recognize a follower of Christ by the literal light beheld in their eyes. It only took me 3 weeks to observe exactly what he was referring to.
By traveling to two different nations in Africa, I have had the unique opportunity to compare and contrast my experiences. Considering the fact that Senegal is primarily a Muslim nation and Uganda is a Christian nation..the differences were numerous and blatant. But despite the prevalence of diversity between the two, one differentiation stands out to me clearer than all the rest: their eyes.
When you look into the eyes of a Senegalese child who has yet to be set free from the shackles of tradition and religion, you see a startling absence of anything. There is nothing there-a complete lack of hope, ambition, purpose, and future. The first time I gazed into the eyes of one of these precious babies, it took my breath away. The desperation and longing for anything with which to fill their hearts is overpowering. It was the most lucid portrayal of someone who is truly lost that I have have ever seen. Heartbreaking.
In contrast, there are the children in Uganda who have met and fallen in love with Jesus. It is in their eyes where you can see the joy, vibrancy, and light that so many visitors have credited to the African people. Simply making eye contact with one of these children that have joined the kingdom can spark an inspiration that is truly divine.I have been privileged enough to see firsthand that freedom is not seen in only unshackled hands, the signing of the Declaration of Independence, or the release of a prisoner, but in the very eyes of these beautiful African children.
Upon returning to the states, I realized that though it may not be as blatant as in the African children, we too have eyes that mirror our souls. Because our identities have been so skewed by our society, we as Americans tend to veil our vulnerability when we interact with those around us, which includes replacing the transparency of our eyes with opaqueness. Nevertheless, with intent scrutiny one can see past that shield and pure into the very soul of a person. In my interaction with the homeless population of our nation I have seen that same desperation and voidness that plagues the Senegalese children. Among the same people I have joyously recognized the light that I saw in Uganda as well.
I personally think God has given us a peek into the depths of those around us, to maybe get a glimpse of what he sees when he looks at his precious children. It gives the concept of asking to see what God sees a whole new (and more practical) meaning. So it is our responsibility as followers of Christ to seek out those who are broken, hopeless, and empty, and shed God's light into their lives. That means looking past their outer appearance, whether it's that off dirt and rags or a three-piece suit, and searching out their souls through the peephole that God has allowed us.
Ask God to open your eyes.
- ▼ 2009 (14)