Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Eye

What are you afraid of?  Bats, witches, zombies?  Or the more mundane-heights, mice and snakes?  Me, I'm scared of a hymn.  Now don't laugh!  There's this song that we used to sing at church when I was in college. It was called, "Watching You."  

We really loved that church. Surrounded daily by professors, PhDs  and professionals, we enjoyed our weekly visits to the tiny country church.  We were by far the youngest members-the pets of an aging assembly of saints.  It was a wonderful place to be.  Till that song came up.  

Can you imagine a giant eye in the sky peering down at you?  Watching you every moment, haunting your most private thoughts, staring at you on the front steps as you kiss your boyfriend good night? If you're not having flashbacks to Nazguls and the Eye of Sauron on Mount Doom, you're obviously less nerdy than I am. To really understand how terrifying it was, you have to imagine the mournful, country twang that turned the chorus into something wandering hobbits might have sung.

All along on the road to the soul's true abode, 
There's an Eye watching you. 
Every step that you take this great Eye is awake, 
There's an Eye watching you. 
Watching you, watching you, 
Everyday mind the course you pursue; 
Watching you, watching you,  
There's an all-seeing Eye watching you

Gives me the chills just thinking about it.  

Of course, back then it was a thought I needed.  Those young years are full of temptation.  There was my handsome soon-to-be husband (the epitome of temptation), chapel and church not to skip or sleep through, classes to study for diligently and a future to plan in God's service.  Although the song terrorized me Sunday after Sunday, on Saturday night it was a life-saver. That creepy thought, "every step that you take, this great Eye is awake" not only caused me to feel guilty for the wrong I had done, it reminded me to do better (Psalms 51).

You know what?  My life is still full of temptation!  

While I was reading, "Practicing the Presence of God," I decided that I had forgotten too much of that earlier sense of God's presence with me.  Well-meaning, I said a prayer and invited God to come along with me that day.  I left my prayer closet (ok, not so much, I actually left the kitchen where God and I had washed up the breakfast dishes) and headed into the market.  The entrance to our market is one narrow lane, and it is crowded with vendors on both sides.  Before long I was jammed into the crowds of people trying to get in.  Craning my neck to see what was holding things up, I saw a motorcycle stretched diagonally blocking the way while the rider casually perused the vegetables.  The mounds of people piling up on both sides as one person at a time tried to pass didn't bother him in the least. 

Temptation was in the air. 

I want to write here that since I had invited God to walk to the market with me, since I had committed to spend that time meditating on him and holding his hand that I was spared from sin.  

Um.  No.

Instead I began to fume.  My thoughts turned impatient.  I forgot that I had intended to enjoy the presence of God and instead I began to mutter.  "Why did he have to be so selfish? Didn't that stupid lady behind me see me?  I can't go anywhere, there's no need to shove.  Whew.  Somebody's going to need a bath.  I'll never get everything done at this rate."  My heart was racing.  My peace was destroyed.  My plan was shot.

And then came the guilt.  I couldn't walk with God for 15 minutes without being swallowed up in sin.  If you knew how little patience I have you wouldn't be surprised.  I was suddenly 20 again, staring at my toes, with my Father's eyes on me.  But unlike when I was 20, I wasn't afraid of the all seeing eye but ashamed of letting down the Father I love.  

Amos talks about the sinner's fear.  He pictures God both omniscient and omnipotent ready to reach through any darkness to snatch up the transgressor (Amos 9:1-5).  This is just the picture that used to pricked my guilty conscience in fear.  

I have learned to love God more than I used to.  I feel more joy in walking with him these days than ever before in my life. Perfect love really does cast out fear.  The Psalmist in almost an echo of Amos, talks about the joys of walking in the light.   

If I say, "Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night," Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You. (Psalms 139:11-12)

Walking with my Father in fear or in love, his presence both highlights and prevents my sin.  When he's around, his light shining in my life, I recognize right away when I've sinned and I FEEL it.  When I've left him at church on Sunday, nothing I do on Tuesday seems all that bad.  Darkness creeps in and with it a blindness that hides my sin from me. I am grateful these days for the Eye that sees in the darkness, enlightening both my sin and my path.  In the joy or fear of his presence, like the Psalmist or like Amos, I am grateful to be the child of the God who sees (Genesis 16:13).

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE(R), Copyright(c) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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