5 This is what God, Yahweh, says—
who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spread out the earth and what comes from it,
who gives breath to the people on it
and life to those who walk on it—
6 “I, Yahweh, have called You
for a righteous purpose,
and I will hold You by Your hand.
I will keep You and appoint You
to be a covenant for the people
and a light to the nations,
7 in order to open blind eyes,
to bring out prisoners from the dungeon,
and those sitting in darkness from the prison house.
8 I am Yahweh, that is My name;
I will not give My glory to another
or My praise to idols.
9 The past events have indeed happened.
Now I declare new events…
16 I will lead the blind by a way they did not know;
I will guide them on paths they have not known.
I will turn darkness to light in front of them
and rough places into level ground.
This is what I will do for them,
and I will not forsake them.
17 They will be turned back and utterly ashamed—
those who trust in idols
and say to metal-plated images:
You are our gods!
Isaiah 42 (HCSV)
I can’t remember if I had underlined it before or after that trip to the Ukraine. I remember it was in one of my Teen or Student Study Bibles. I remember my heart being so pulled by the Words that it seemed tangled – intertwined with every letter, comma, and period. When I read it and had it read to me, I knew a calling and a passion and a desire I had never known before. Yes, I knew it was ultimately Jesus’ calling – The Passion He would live and die and raise for, but I also knew it was mine to some degree. I just didn’t know how or when…and I still don’t. Really, how does a girl’s heart, that desires to “open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the dungeon, and those sitting in darkness from the prison house…(to) lead the blind…(to) turn darkness to light,” fulfill its passion in “life suburbia?” I have sung this song until it’s like an overplayed hit on the radio; you know, the kind that has made me no longer even turn the Christian radio station on in the van. Yet, the heart still cries out.
I do remember, vaguely, the sweet Pastor’s Daughter who had twin girls, who was also on that Ukraine trip. She had spoken to a group of women one morning, and she had quoted the very same Words. With tears in her eyes she had stated her passion to open eyes and free captives with the Light of the World. I don’t know how it’s all worked out in her life. I wonder if she and her family still live in Texas. How did God use her in the place(s) He called her? Did she ever feel like it just wasn’t the way she thought it should or would or could look? Did she ever wonder why she was in this place when that place seemed to have a more noticeable need? Or did God open her eyes to more than what she could have ever imagined? Did she begin to see things through spiritual eyes – where a whole world of darkness and pain and poverty of the soul lay right before her? ‘Cause you see, I think that’s where God has me.
I will soon hold another little newborn in my arms. I will watch as her little eyes learn to open and focus and be able to stand the light and the newness of her out-of-the-womb surroundings. I will observe how she sees everything for the first time with wonder and eventually excitement. And though there will be so much I never long for her to see or experience, I will take delight in watching her come alive in this world. I will beam as she starts to recognize our faces. I will mark it down or take a picture when she smiles for the first time. And, I will also cover her eyes or turn her away from things I know she is not prepared to handle yet. I will protect my girl. I will also prepare her, as she grows, to handle seeing more and more because it is important that she sees. If she does not live truly seeing where God has placed her, she will never truly live where God has placed her. Her purpose will be crippled, her passion will be unfulfilled, her accomplishments will be empty. Her life will be selfish, her heart will be hindered, her mind will be mamed, and her soul will be discontent. I know, Momma knows, because Momma has lived in the desert for far too long.
I have taken the calling of God and tried to write my own story. I have lived shut-eyed and tight fisted and I have shaken that same fist at God and begged “why” and “how long” and “what are You thinking!?” too many times. I have called His leading “not enough” and “not quite right” and I have missed so much because I have chosen to shut my eyes and be a blind servant rather than a willing one.
18 “Listen, you deaf! Look, you blind, so that you may see. 19 Who is blind but My servant, or deaf like My messenger I am sending? Who is blind like My dedicated one, or blind like the servant of the Lord? 20 Though seeing many things, you do not obey. Though his ears are open, he does not listen.” Isaiah 42
I have made God’s commission small and have picked where the Gospel would be best lived out in my mind. I have “chosen” these people and rejected others because they didn’t fit the picture in my mind. I have preferred this place over another because it didn’t seem physically hard enough to really be “ministry;” though the spirit has fought harder than I ever thought it would! I have been Jasmine from Aladdin, who left the life she had been given to do something great with, and I have walked into the streets and begged the beggars to trade places with me. I have run away from the High Calling of my Father the King and called His plans for me a trap because I didn’t open my eyes to see His ways and plans that are higher than mine.
So, how does a girl’s heart, that desires to “open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the dungeon, and those sitting in darkness from the prison house…(to) lead the blind…(to) turn darkness to light,” fulfill its passion in “life suburbia?”
Maybe, just maybe, she begins to live with her own eyes open, in her own freedom, in the Light of her Savior. Maybe she stops thinking so much about who she would pick to serve and love and maybe she just begins to serve and love. Maybe she stops seeking others for their lives and she starts seeking Christ for His. Then…maybe…she truly sees and hears and lives…the fulfilled life.