Open My Eyes by Lauren Neal

open eyesAfter some days Paul said to Barnabas, ‘Come, let us return and visit the believers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.’ Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. But Paul decided not to take with them one who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not accompanied them in the work. The disagreement became so sharp that they parted company; Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus. But Paul chose Silas and set out, the believers commending him to the grace of the Lord. He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.

—Acts 15:36-41

In 1895, shortly before her tragic death caused by a runaway horse and buggy, Clara Scott wrote the words:

Silently now I wait for thee,

ready, my God, thy will to see.

Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit divine!

The hymn is called “Open My Eyes, That I May See,” and this morning, almost 120 years later, I awoke with this song in my head.  I’m sure you’ve heard the saying that God works in mysterious ways, and that’s certainly true.  But, sometimes God also works in ways so blatantly obvious that we would be daft to not see what God’s doing.  And yet, we often still miss it. 

Sometimes when God works in obvious ways, we’re thrilled and grateful.  When a loved one is sick, we pray for health, and they recover, we praise God for his miracle.  But what about when God works in ways that aren’t so “good,” at least from our perspective?  What about when the healing we pray for comes through death?  What about when we pray for a relationship only to see it end?  Is God still working?  Of course he is, but sometimes we just don’t see what God sees. 

In Acts 15:36-41, Paul and Barnabas have a disagreement, and they part ways.  By going in separate directions, they are able exponentially to multiply the effectiveness of their ministry, but the way it happened was likely painful for all involved.  Why didn’t God just convince them to go their separate ways amicably?  It often seems that we have to do God’s will the hard way, but the point to remember is that regardless of how it is accomplished, God will get his way.

Clara Scott’s hymn reminds us that sometimes all we can really do is to wait for God and try to understand his will.  College is a time of a lot of uncertainty.  You’ll wonder if you’ve chosen the right major, the right school, whether you should even be in college at all, not to mention all of the increasingly complex relationships you are developing.  No one person has answers for you, but God does.  And sometimes our struggles are meant to be overcome, and sometimes they are God’s way of changing our direction.  Let your prayer be for God to open your eyes so that you may see and understand his will for your life.

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