Currently our two oldest kids are in college, one a couple of states to the west and the other several states to the east. So that glorious thing known as airline travel is now a part of their lives. Each time they are arriving or departing, I give them some variation on this theme: Eyes open. Pay attention to your surroundings.
Now, they may eye-roll and grow weary of that word from me, but I don’t give a flying fig newton. I am their father who desires them to be safe. Plus I’m helping foot the bill for such collegiate knowledge, therefore I am worthy to be heard (ha). But more importantly, there is always a tremendous amount of stuff going on, especially in airports these days, not all of it necessarily bad. In fact, some of it is quite life-giving and encouraging, and I want them to see it. But they won’t if they’re not looking.
We encounter a voice in today’s reading saying somewhat the same thing. The sovereign Lord says, “Listen and hear my voice. Pay attention and hear what I say” (Isaiah 28:23). Let’s be honest. In our rather grown-up but still adolescent attitude, we often eye-roll the Lord. He knows this and still loves us, as a good father does. His desire is our safety, so to speak—that we wouldn’t lose heart in this rather heartless world.
The Lord is teaching us to live eyes wide open as much as possible, for He is working in ways that resemble the farmer and the field, ways that have to do with tilling and planting and watering and harvesting and other farmery words that end in “ing.” In our blazingly fast technological world, these slower, rhythm-bound words are often forgotten. We’re simply moving too fast. But people in a rush miss things, both the bad and the good, and our Father who art in heaven wants us to see it, all of it.
As I said, the Lord’s desire is for our good. So that is cause enough to listen and pay attention. But more importantly, the Lord has paid the price for our lives with His love. The line from the old hymn goes like this: Oh to grace how great a debtor. In other words, we owe Him, not in some master-slave model, but in the way a son is grateful for his father’s care. He has redeemed our lives by His great mercy. That makes Him worthy above all others for our attention. So eyes open, men.
Written by John Blase