Like puzzle pieces of an entire, we can only guess what’s behind the mask as we pass in a parking lot, at work, or in a store. But if eyes are indeed the window of the soul, we should be seeing some deep things even six feet apart. We should be connecting on another level, eye to eye.
But, I know I’m not.
Like a couple of kids my husband and I put on our masks and then play the “can you tell if I’m smiling” game. He really can’t hide his because the crinkles at the edges of his eyes give him away. When I see those lines, I can’t really help but smile back.
Lips turned up or down at the corners, a grimace, a frown, are now concentrated into the meeting of eyes.
And at times eyes seem almost too personal, too revealing. I find myself blinking and shifting gaze too often. The response of others is often the same. Eyes meet then turn away perhaps because eyes really do expose us.
Peter’s eyes met Jesus’ after Peter stoutly declared he didn’t know Jesus, and the Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. (Luke 22:61). I wonder what Jesus’ eyes said in that piercing moment of eye to eye contact. Was guilt, remorse or grief unveiled in Peter’s eyes?
The Bible appeals to that common irritation of “something’s in my eye,” with its instruction to take the log out of our own eye before we work on the speck of another. Retaliation was described as eye for an eye. Eyes can be filled with lust or opened wide to see God’s law, and Proverbs reminds us that the Lord’s eyes are in every place.
Paul, in his unique way of communicating with clauses hanging onto more clauses, and long-worded paragraphs, pens a purposeful prayer for his reader’s eyes, but not the wide blue or brown ones sitting above our Covid inspired masks.
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened.”
Paul intended with these words much more than the physical heart or physical eye. He referred to the center of spiritual life, knowledge, passions and desires to be illumined from within. He prayed that our souls with its appetites, our intellect with its reasoning, our wills and character might be imbued with light only Jesus provides.
Jesus, who claimed to be the Light, referred to eyes as the lamp of the body. Like the physical eye gives light and the beat of our heart gives life, our spiritual being is dark without Jesus shining marvelous truth into our souls.
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.” Ephesians 1:18-19 (NASB)
Are the eyes of your heart enlightened?
These days it’s easy to feel no reason to smile at another or perhaps there seems to be little reason to smile at all. We are becoming used to a new way of covering up and passing by. We are adapting to obscurity allowing its slide into apathy.
I don’t ever want to get accustomed to hiding what Jesus does in my heart behind a mask of indifference or fear.
I want to consider the eyes, to reach past the uncomfortable and acknowledge who lives behind the mask. I want to take the time and effort to communicate the smile of my heart, the hope of His calling, the riches of a glorious inheritance and the surpassing greatness of His power.
So, here’s the challenge. The next time you meet another masked face, consider the person behind those eyes. Pray for Jesus to enlighten the eyes of their heart. Remember the hope, rich inheritance and beyond belief power we posses as children of the King.
And put on a smile behind your mask.