I Want to Shut My Eyes

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This last couple of weeks I have been struggling – deep, deep heart struggle. I can’t stand what I am seeing in the world, my friends. It wrecks my heart to the core. The cynics say many things that make my heart hurt even worse.

**Suffering has gone on in the world for millenia – why does this bother you so much more than other stuff?
**It’s none of our business – we need to stop meddling.
**What about our people here in our own country? Things are just as bad here and we don’t seem so sad about that.

I get it…what the cynics say. I understand the thought process. And that crushes my heart, because it is so very deceitful. They are being deceived with such thinking – I know, I have been there. I still find myself there at times.

See, it’s not either/or when it comes to this kind of stuff, friends ~ Our conviction about the sin and suffering we see in the world is not limited to either/or.

It’s ALL OF IT.

It’s the increase of it. It’s the callousness of it. It’s the intensity and frequency of it. It’s the in-your-face aspect of it. It’s the almost celebratory “look at what I can get away with” of it all – and most of all – it’s the shutting of our eyes to protect ourselves part of it that gets my stomach turning and twisted in knots. It’s not the horrible photos. It’s not that at all. It’s the facing – the IN YOUR FACE facing up to the truth and reality and the way that we coldly stand back and do nothing (not even really pray that much) of it that makes me feel sick. Yet we get our panties in a bunch if the Starbucks guy looks at us sideways (must be because I’m gay, a Christian, a democrat, or whatever) junk that we focus upon instead!

Yes, it’s always been present – evil and twisted sin. Yes, it’s part of the human sin nature – cruelty, lies, murder, terror, and apathy. But I see it increasing. And no – it’s not only due to the fact that we have practically real-time news flashes at our fingertips. It’s an overall change in the way sin is see in our world coupled with the increase in intensity that is present.

I feel it in my soul. I know it is real…this change. Satan knows the end is near and he’s ramping up his games.

Matthew 24:12 ~ Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.

We are cold – indifferent – consumed with something as stupid as the fact that our neighbor looked at us funny and we think that spells discrimination. Simultaneously, we turn a blind eye to the really wicked stuff that’s going on around us all in the name of “mind your own business.” It’s crap. All of that justification we provide for ourselves so we don’t have to act…care….be deeply disturbed.

We don’t want to burst the bubble or anything like that, do we?

I’m sick about it. That bubble is such a liar. It makes us feel warm and protected. But nothing real gets inside. So it’s all false – all deceit. All an illusion. It’s a scheme of the devil, there’s no other way to explain it!

It is inside of these bubbles that our love will grow cold. But we won’t even know it’s happening, because we feel so warm and pretty. And lest you think I am spewing judgement out upon the world without looking hard at my little self, you are mistaken.

How did I title this blog post? It’s the opposite of the title of the entire blog. I titled my entire blog site Eyes Wide Open for a reason – a personal reason, friends. It’s because I like the bubble vision too much. I like it very much to close my eyes (and my heart) to the reality of what is going on, whether it’s something horrific in the world or something even worse inside of my own heart. So I put myself on the hook by naming it that way. I am on the hook with Jesus to let Him search my heart and open my eyes (heart) to the truth….even when it’s very, very ugly.

See…he does great things when we are willing to take a look at the ugly along with Him. If we are willing to see it, let it twist our stomachs up for a moment, let it pierce our hearts and prod us and twist us until we wonder if we will ever “feel” comfort again, we get to then turn it over to Him and experience true comfort and peace. That is not the stuff of feelings at all, a lot of the time – rather it is this God thing that surpasses mere feelings. It is better.

But the flesh still battles hard. It battles for the feelings part of it all – it wants comfort. It likes the bubble.

I want to shut my eyes to what I see growing increasingly wicked by the day in our world because it reminds me of just how dark our human hearts can be if we turn away from the Lord. I want to shut my eyes and not be reminded of the horrible things that man can do to one another when he seeks his own way instead of following afer Jesus. I want to shut my eyes when I can’t do anything much to help others that are suffering unimaginable things at the hands of the evil one. I want to crawl in my bubble and shut my eyes. Seal them. Hibernate in my own little happy world.

And this last couple of weeks, I find myself unable to do that. And that is GOOD. It’s a bad feeling kind of good to have my eyes wide open lately.

Matthew 24: 6-8 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all[a] these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences,[b] and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.

Do not be troubled? I don’t know what the original greek or hebrew word for that translates to, but I don’t think it means what it would to us today at first glance, because later Jesus says “these are the beginning of sorrows.”

I think Jesus means that we can have confidence in the FACE OF THESE SORROWS that He IS going to come back and all of this evil will be put to an end. It will be done, over, finished forever. He has already paid the price for us on the cross. That part is already finished if we have accepted Him as Lord and Savior. But we will get to go home and live with Him one day in a place where there is no evil. We will be in a place where feelings meet truth and it is a whole new way of living. The real life begins in this place.

Revelation 21:4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

In the meantime, morbid as many may think that I am, I am not going to shut my eyes. I am going to look in the face of the evil that is happening and remember Jesus’ words to us. “This is the beginning of sorrows.”

Only He can heal.

While we stare in the face of love growing cold, do we stand strong and firm and rooted in the love of Jesus anyway? What is it today that may be stopping you from loving others as He first loved us? Are you afraid to come out of the bubble for fear of being troubled? Are you turning to Him in the midst of the sorrows and allowing His peace, His comfort, His joy to weigh heavier than the light and airy feel-good stuff the bubble provides? Do you want to shut your eyes to something today that you know you are supposed to see, even if it’s ugly, life changing, and scary? You are not alone, friend. You are NOT alone.

He tells us to watch many times – there’s a reason for that, my friends. Please watch. Look and watch for Jesus in all that you do. It may seem sometimes like all you see is evil in the world as you open your eyes and peer outside the bubble. But do not be deceived. God is at work. Do not be deceived into being lulled to sleep. Watch for Him, friends. Find Him where you are and watch for His return. I highly urge you to immerse yourself in Jesus’ own words about watching for His return. To me, if Christ Himself emphasizes something over and over again, it warrants considering it and pondering it and immersing ourselves in it deeply. You can find what Jesus says about this in many places, but Matthew 24 is a great place to start.

Study it…ponder it. Look with a discerning eye as to what Jesus is saying. Don’t be the virgin with the lamp that ran out of oil. Don’t be the servant who partied at home while waiting for His master to return. Be ready. He is coming.

And I must say, if I make some people angry or uncomfortable with this brazen blog post today, please know I speak only out of love. It can’t be all hearts and flowers when it comes to getting our attention fixed upon Christ in the midst of a very distracting and very cold world. It just can’t. This is my attempt at helping us to remain vigilant and STAY AWAKE. I feel Jesus urging me to become even more bold for Him. So, if I made you uncomfortable today, I think that’s a good thing. Please send me a note in the comments below if you feel you need to talk more with me. I will get your contact information and we can chat.

Our pastor reminded us last night of something very significant: The Bible ends with an exclamation point. Embedded within that – all wrapped up in the end of God’s word – is this:

He is coming back soon and we are to look forward to it.

To do that, we must watch.

Revelation 22:20
He who testifies to these things says, “surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

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8 thoughts on “I Want to Shut My Eyes

  1. “Simultaneously, we turn a blind eye to the really wicked stuff that’s going on around us all in the name of “mind your own business.” It’s crap.”… spot on, thank you for ‘keeping your eyes wide open’ x

  2. Annie,
    I am in the process of changing congregations on an issue similar to this. Every week I am hearing the woes of the world preached from the pulpit as a call to pray. I agree that it is important to see what is going on, but it is important that we do not live in fear or despair and unfortunately, much of what I read from brothers and sisters including what is being preached is just that … fear and despair. Our eyes need to be open, but we do not need to see the world through Satan colored glasses, but through Jesus colored glasses. I am tempted to post all of 2 Cor 4, but I will just share a couple of things. This chapter is often used when we go through personal trials (I am sure you have clung to this over the past year a few times). It is Good News for us and should bring joy and not despair.

    “8 We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.”

    “16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

    God has a lot of work for us to do and I am excited to get to it! Time to get out there and start handing out those Jesus colored glasses.

    • I agree and thank you, dear brother! I need to emphasize the beauty to be found in the midst of evil and ugly, and didn’t do so in this post! It is meant to keep us awake- but most especially those I see either caught up in prosperity gospel, or those who aren’t even thinking about Jesus at all. For me, I have to fave the ugly so as not to look for beauty in the world, but in Jesus and him alone. I need now to speak about (in my next post) those very Jesus glasses you mention. Thanks for commenting and encouraging always- don’t leave me as I promise this won’t become the normal lens I paint the picture with at all! Annie 🙂

      • Annie,
        I do not see despair in your post at all. I see that you are telling the world of Christians – The Church in the Western World mainly – to wake up and quit ignoring these things that are not in our back yard. I do think that is happening and it is sad. And my whole writing ministry is based on encouragement in the Gospel and Truth of God, so I’d know despair when I see it. I do not see it in this post. Don’t apologize for stating the truth boldly! We all need to wake up and be watchful. Not ignorantly running along and also not living luke warm lives as warned against.
        Just like you said so well:
        “It is inside of these bubbles that our love will grow cold. But we won’t even know it’s happening, because we feel so warm and pretty.”

  3. Enjoyed reading your thoughts. Now I’ll share mine, rather belatedly:
    It’s a challenge to be aware of what’s going on in the world, not buried ostrich-like, and yet pbey the “whatsoever things are pure…think on these things” command!

    Our North American society preaches a “social gospel”, which Christians have done for a century now. it’s a gospel of “Get out there are DO something — improve the lot of your fellow man!” Christians have tended to leaned toward the “Pray, pray, PRAY!” where the secular world goes for the more political “boycott, protest, march,” etc.

    It took me some years to see how society had conditioned me, but one day the Lord set me free from that pressure with a simple answer. He make it SO simple for us! I can’t fix the world. I can’t do a lot to combat evil, preach the gospel, etc. But He doesn’t require that of me. Society puts that pressure on. (Or I should say, Satan uses my cultural training to put that pressure on.)

    But God tells us, “Just follow the Spirit and do what you can. Give that cup of cold water, encourage when you see someone down. He only requires of us what He puts in our path to do. Satan would have us run ourselves ragged trying to Do, Do, Do until were burned out and depressed. Then hell celebrates another Christian out of commission.

    The Lord brought gave me an object lesson one day when I went out for a walk. We’d had a light snow and road was white, except for these little dots of black–holes in the snow–all along. I looked into a few of these and saw a salt crystal in each.

    The salt truck had gone along about half an hour before scattering salt and each crystal fell where it did. And there it quietly gave itself to open one little hole. No one crystal tried to thaw the whole road, or felt depressed what it couldn’t. It just gave itself until it was gone and finally disappeared exactly where it fell. That’s all God requires of us. he may move us to a new locale to do anew work, but even there, it’s going to be a “bloom where you’re planted” project.

    • Beautiful and encouraging dear Christine- thank you. Exactly what I know I need to focus upon – sometimes I get overwhelmed with what I see and just want to shut my eyes- but when The Lord reels me back in I am focused again- beautiful comparison to the snow and crystals too! I so appreciate you!

      • Writing about it reminds me of this snowy-day scene. I think I’ll share it as a blog post shortly. I’m glad if I could encourage you; we all need this.
        And thanks for your appreciative words. sometimes a person thinks, “You’re just meddling.” That sidetracks a lot of helpful words.

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