Eyes Bright Again

Eyes Bright Again

I pulled out a celebrity-gossip magazine that happened to be in my seat pocket on a flight to Denver. You know the type: oh-my-gosh,  The Perfect Little Black Dress of the Season—or—Three  Ways Your Partner Might Be Secretly Cheating! These kinds of articles seem to be the grist of today’s Western culture.

By the time the plane landed, I was made to feel thoroughly undersexed, unsophisticated, and deserving of costly beauty products. The underlying message? —If you aren’t really working on being one of the beautiful people, you’ll end up alone.

Modern culture promises us the moon with superlatives: perfect skin in three applications or idyllic sleep with the right kind of mattress. We hope to find ecstasy in a perfume, identity in an expensive car, and attitude in owning the latest gadget. These things make us feel more attractive, momentarily. We turn a head or two.

But attention doesn’t satisfy, because it only parades as love. Many sacred hours are wasted with this kind of distraction. It’s a pretext, a facade, masking our fundamental need for relationship.

Loneliness seems like life’s albatross. We are required to hold all relationships loosely. Beloved grandparents and parents fade in their vitality and pass away. Colleges and careers take us away from extended family. We lose our original sense of community, the familiarity of a hometown. Marriage has empty spaces with its own unique set of vulnerabilities. Children grow up and find their own lives, as they should. Even lifelong friendships can change overtime or be lost unexpectedly. Single, divorced, or widowed people may think loneliness is their singular struggle, but the experience is common to most everyone I know.

Through good times and hard seasons, loneliness still hovers. We seek out a diary, a dog, or an online friend, looking for solace in some kind of connection.

But down deep, the connection we really need is with God…

Have we simply associated with God through mere religious traditions? Is our faith just an intellectual theology, a moral code, or a social gospel? If that’s it—if we’ve only known Him at arm’s length—we’ve settled for far too little.

Why? Because God is closer than your skin, and He wants to do life with you! And when you experience that reality, the fear of loneliness fades.

For example, when my husband had to spend extended time in Africa in 2012, it felt like more than I could bear. I went with him on one trip, but didn’t go on the other four. All added up, we were apart half the year.

I told God about my loneliness. I asked Him for His take on it. The word, “respite,” came to mind. At first I thought it wasn’t a word, erroneously placing the accent on the second syllable—re-SPITE. Funny how the mind goes negative when you’re not in a good place.

Soon after, I realized my mistake. “RES-pite” is a word, and it means “an interval of rest.” What was God saying to me?

In general, my husband is a larger-than-life personality who ups the mix in any situation, and most of that is God-given gusto! But if I was going to write my next book, I needed space and long quiet days. His absence also meant less cooking and cleaning. God had purposes for me in our time apart. And most astonishingly, He altered my understanding with a single word!

You can try this experiment.

Identify an area of your life where you feel discontent, anxious or even completely hopeless. Put it into words as a prayer. Even better, write it down. Then ask God to speak a single word or a short phrase that will help you understand His perspective on that issue. God knows the English language. In fact, He has a command of all languages. And, He’ll work with you. He wants a point of contact. It’s an opportunity for you to practice listening for God’s voice. Don’t discount the first thing that comes to mind. But also don’t worry if it takes a few days, a week, or longer. Wait and watch for it. If it’s a strange word, look it up in the dictionary to expand its meaning. And see if the God who has numbered the very hairs of your head, gives you a handle on that stuck or broken place in your life.

I hope you’ll give it a try. And if it’s not too personal, please share your experience by commenting here on my website. Let’s get a dialogue going, because we can help each other.

“The Lord God has given Me the tongue of disciples, That I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple.”  —Isaiah 50:4


  1. i won’t go into the depth of my fear and need (unless you want me to elaborate) to which my god spoke clearly two words that i’ve repeated many times over during the last couple of months….”MY BABY”
    that would be me, his BABY.
    suzee B

  2. I’ve been going through a very difficult time at work over the past few months but God has told me to wait. So many times I have wanted to look at job postings, get my resume in order, etc. but as soon as I started to I felt like I was in disobedience because of God’s direction.

    Last Tuesday I did my devotions which was all about “waiting patiently on God” and it stated things such as “He’s up to something big that doesn’t affect only you…He’s also after those around you…God’s agenda is not just to deliver you from the pit…His preeminent aim is to bring Himself fame, and you are one way he has chosen to do it…anticipate it.” “Waiting doesn’t mean sitting around…” These were all strong encouragements to keep waiting.

    I got on the treadmill and had my phone set to Charles Stanley’s website so that after I would spend some time in prayer I would listen to the next sermon. After 15 minutes of praying I stopped the treadmill and got ready to push play when I received a strong sense that I was to spend the last 5 minutes just listening to God. So I did.

    God gave me a word picture of ENDURE. Big, bold, capital letters across my mind’s eye about two feet wide. And then He gave me the scripture Hebrews 12:2b “For the joy set before him he endured the cross…” “But God,” I said, “aren’t I supposed to have joy amidst the heartache? I would reason from this scripture that even Jesus didn’t have joy on the cross.”

    I got off the treadmill and went to my bathroom and began curling my hair and plugged my headphone into my one ear and finally pressed play on Charles Stanley. The FIRST word that came out of his mouth was “Endurance.” Then he went on to speak on Hebrews 12, reading many verses and said something to the affect “there is one word in all that scripture that is key…ENDURE.” I couldn’t believe it!! I burst into tears! Then he spoke on the fact that Jesus probably didn’t have joy while on the cross…it was for the joy set before Him. He had the right perspective. And to endure doesn’t mean doing nothing, it mean being expectant.
    How could the God of the universe see little ole me as important enough to speak to so loudly? I have felt so disobedient and shallow in my faith because I struggle with worry about how God will deliver me, how we’ll afford our current lifestyle and feeling such drudgery when I go to work. But God is so good…the lover of my soul. Thank you, God, for making sure I got this message! You are my defender, the lifter of my head, my everything. Thank you for using one word and a unique communication method to change my perspective and my understanding of how desperately you want to speak with us.

    • Jen, this is a fantastic story! Thank you so much for taking time to write it out! I know it will bless others….

    • Beautiful story, Jen! I’m so glad you shared. I feel the same amazement over and over again when I speak audible things to the Owner of the universe who brings my specific requests to pass. “What is man that thou art mindful of him?” I pray because I trust in His concern, His might, His compassion, His wisdom, but I still marvel when He demonstrates these traits on my behalf. The love in His attentiveness makes me feel like a heavy branch on a fruit tree, barely able to stand beneath the weight of His supply.