Younger readers probably won't appreciate how when (growing up) I really would have liked a pair of the x-ray glasses that were advertised in various comic books. Now, I wasn't gullible enough to actually think they worked, but what a cool idea! Or even better, how about having Superman's x-ray vision? I think not being able to see through lead is a small limitation, especially since lead would also protect me against kryptonite!
Or how about the Gilligan's Island episode, "Pass the Vegetables, Please," where a box of radioactive seeds washed up on the shore? After the stranded islanders planted them, they grew quickly, and the castaways each ate different vegetables. Mary Ann consumed some carrots and was given incredible eyesight (because you know, carrots are good for your eyes).
Now for a harsh segue…
Recently a church member asked me to pray for her. One might expect the normal types of requests—healing for a friend, help with finances, the salvation of a family member. And our God, who doesn't even miss when a single sparrow falls (Matthew 10:29), gladly hears (and answers) those petitions (although not always the way we want).
But no, the woman's appeal wasn't for health, money, or redemption. Instead she asked to see people as Jesus sees them.
Her request made me think of when the Lord said to Solomon, "Ask what I shall give you" (2 Chronicles 1:7, English Standard Version). There was no way an omniscient God was surprised by Solomon's response, but I suspect many of us would have expected the new king to ask for riches, or maybe an extremely long life, or perhaps Israel's protection and prosperity. However, instead Solomon appealed, "Give me now wisdom and knowledge to go out and come in before this people, for who can govern this people of yours, which is so great?" (2 Chronicles 2:10)
Solomon's plea was as unselfish as any man's could be.
Our fellow church-member's was equally so.
Brandon Heath sings a very moving and inspiring song titled, "Give Me Your Eyes"
Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken-hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach
Give me your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me your eyes so I can see
I have also prayed for Jesus' eyes for people, and in some ways when I first heard Brandon Heath's song (while driving Mikey to an air museum in Palm Springs, California) it seemed a bit of an answer. But I've also worried, if I truly had Jesus' eyes for people could I handle it?
What if my depraved human vision, which is more likely to lead to judgement, or lust, or just plain blindness to the needs around me, was replaced by that of the Son of God? I try to avoid strong emotions like the plague, but what would I do if I always saw the pain that invades everyone's life? The man who just suddenly lost his job and doesn't know how he's going to pay next month's rent. The child who has to repeat the abuser's lie and say they fell downstairs (while simultaneously anticipating the next time they suffer wrath). The person who feels friendless as they spend another Friday night alone, staring at their cooling microwave macaroni and cheese, and wondering why nobody likes them. The woman whose husband has thrown her out because aging (and a few extra pounds) mean she's no longer as attractive as his young assistant at work.
The billions who are blindly staring eternal destruction in the eye because they have rejected the One who is the only way, truth, and life—billions of His children who have chosen the father of lies (John 8:44) over the bread of life (John 6:35).
Would you want to avert your eyes? Would you want to stop hearing their cries, whether they are spoken, thought, or just felt? Would you try to get the best set of earplugs and a large sleep eye mask so that you can blot out the constant deluge of agony those around you suffer?
No matter how cool x-ray glasses or Superman's x-ray vision would be, and how risky actually seeing people with God's love and concern is…we should all pray like Brandon Heath…pray like our sister in Christ…and ask for Jesus' eyes for others.
The same One who will answer that prayer will also give us the strength to handle the result.