Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Restrained Eyes

Our women's ministry Bible study has been reading through Luke this semester. I must confess I've been less than diligent with the study for various reasons, so I know I haven't gotten all that I could have, which saddens me. It's like going to Paris and only seeing the Eiffel Tower. But God has given me glimpses here and there, despite my lack of dedication.

One of the main themes that has appeared to me over the course of the study is that of revelation. In the first few chapters paralleling Mary and Elizabeth, I was struck by their obedience without knowing the full plan. Then, after their faithfulness and submission, revelation occurred--not the other way around. So often we say, OK, God, show me the way and I'll follow. He just doesn't always work like that. I loved how the shepherds, Simeon, and Anna were granted revelation--God pulled back the curtain, allowing certain people a peek into his plan.

On the other hand, there were others who eyes were closed, who were not granted perception. Even the disciples had things hidden from them. Luke writes, "They did not perceive. They did not understand. They did not know." This week, we looked at the travelers on the road to Emaus and I was struck by the phrase, "their eyes were restrained." They were prevented from knowing who was walking with them. Only later, at their meal, were their eyes "opened and they knew him." Later, when Jesus appears to his disciples right before his ascention, he "opened their understanding." Their understanding had not been large enough before. Using the same words spoken before his death, Luke says (24:44), Jesus teaches them again from Moses and the Prophets and now they comprehend.

And I kept asking, Why? Why was it necessary for things to be hidden from them until after His death and resurrection? Wouldn't they have been more confident, bolder preachers if they had gotten it all, put all the points together, "beginning at Moses and all the Prophets." But would it might have been all head knowledge--without the burning heart of faith. I think they needed to see faith in action--in the woman who bled for seven years, in the centurion with a sick daughter, in Mary with her alabaster jar--to start to feel it a bit. And to hear Jesus take the Law and push it so far beyond their understanding that they were at the end of themselves and their own abilities.

At this season in our lives, I'm wondering why my eyes are restrained. Why can't I see how this is going to work out? I have the Prophets and the Psalmists and their words are not quite penetrating my heart? As Jill Phillips says, "I can't get it down to my heart from my head."

But if my eyes are being restrained, I know the one who is restraining them and one day he will open my understanding. Martin Luther said, “I know not where He leads, but well do I know my Guide.” The hymn based on his saying "His Love Can Never Fail" says, "I may not know the way I go, but, oh, I know my God."

1 comment:

patti said...

Ive said it before but will say it again...you are a beautiful writer and I love how your heart comes through dear friend. Its real and honest and just well said.
That said... restraint is hard. Never seeing the whole picture is difficult. xoxoxo