Glancing and Gazing

If you spend any time around our family, you are bound to hear us say multiple times a day, “Eyeballs.” Random as it may seem, it is Joseph-speak for “Give me your gaze, not your glance.” Whatever it is that is currently grabbing my boys’ attention, be it a Lego creation, a silly game like Minion Rush, or a bouncing basketball, the goal is that they would stop staring at it and begin to look at us with their full attention.

There is a difference between the two, and while it may seem like splitting hairs, it makes a huge difference. What we glance at we give a cursory look, what we gaze at we stare at and stay fixed upon.

Lately, I feel as if God has been telling me, “Eyeballs, Aimee. I want your gaze, not your glance.”

Weighty decisions, happenings, and discussions are being made and had in our country right now. And weighty they ought to be. Ferguson, the Eric Garner decision, and the unrest in our own country are heavy, and they deserve a good, long, thoughtful glance.

But I have been gazing on these events, on the evil and injustice around us and in us lately. This gazing has led me only to fear, discouragement, anger, and unrest.

As I was studying Psalm 36 today, I saw a healthy model in the way psalmist David was viewing the world around him. He spends the beginning four lines of his song noting the state of the world around him, a description shockingly similar to the state of our world even thousands of years later. He talks about rebellion and transgression, wickedness, trickery and injustice.

But he most certainly doesn’t stay there, he doesn’t end with his eyes observing the situation around him and even within himself. He takes a glance, but then he fixes his gaze on the goodness of God, the justice of God, the abundance of God. He spends double the amount of lines focusing on, rehearsing, reminding himself of the character of God.

“How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They drink their full of the abundance of your house; You give them to drink of the river of your delights. You are the fountain of life, in your light we see light.”

The word for precious is weighty, costly, rare. In the midst of weighty circumstances and deeply broken justice systems, the lovingkindness and perfect justice of God become even weightier, even more longed for, even more treasured for those who know Him.

I don’t want to be an ostrich with my head in the sand, but I also don’t want to become a cynical, hopeless, fearful human. With His help, I want to glance at the facts within me and around me, but then I want to gaze on the steady character of a God who loves justice and peace far more than the best humanitarian on the planet.

“Eyeballs, Aimee. Eyes on Me,” the Lord whispered to me today. He is worthy of our gaze.

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