Through the Eyes of a Child

Just last week I met and talked with a
friend I hadn’t seen in a while. Right away I
said, “You look so sad!” I could tell by her

Certainly our eyes do serve as a
barometer of our inner being and can express
deep-rooted feelings and emotions without
a word being spoken.

The English poet William Blake said our
eyes are “windows of the soul.” I’m sure
you’ve noticed that the eyes of those around
you communicate in a dramatic way their
state of mind — anger, fear, mischief,
tenderness, love, excitement, boredom, etc.

Doctors often look into the eyes of their
patients while examining them to determine
their state of health.

So it’s not really surprising to discover
that the Bible has much to say about our
eyes — there are numerous references
throughout both the Old and New
Testaments. Only recently have I begun to
comprehend just how important our eyes are to
our spiritual well-being — that where we look
and what we see help determine who we
are and what we become.

The Apostle John speaks of the lust of the
(1 John 2:16), and Peter warns against
those having eyes full of adultery, and that
cannot cease from sin
(2 Peter 2: 14).

The psalmist, recognizing that what is
fed into our eyes affects what we become,
affirms, I will set no wicked thing before
mine eyes
(Psalm 101:3). And the Apostle
Paul, in what may be my life’s foundation
verse, urges us to continue looking unto
Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith

(Hebrews 12:2).

   Some time ago, our ministry had an open
house in which we invited friends and
partners to come tour our World Outreach
Center and visit personally with Dr. Van Impe
and me and our staff. About 1,500 people
toured our headquarters in a single
afternoon — it was wonderful to greet so many

I couldn’t help noticing how many little
children came through with their parents.
And inevitably, when I looked down at them,
they would be looking directly into my eyes.
I would find myself kneeling to get to their
eye level…and happily, many times they
ended up in my arms.

But I began noticing how children look
at the world. They spend a lot of time
looking up! And when they encounter an
adult, they look into his or her face, up into
the eyes.

Children are very perceptive. They can
tell, almost at a glance, if a person is friendly
or menacing, if they can trust the person or
should run away. By looking into the eyes
of the adults around them, they sense if
they are welcome or are intruding. And
they can tell almost instantly if their parents
are pleased with them or disapproving.

Jack and I were having breakfast at a
little pancake house not long ago when a
mother and her two children came in. They
sat at a nearby table — the little boy was
unceremoniously dumped into a high chair
and the little girl thumped into a chair across
from the mother. Once seated, she paid
little attention to the youngsters, staring
away from them, with a disgruntled look on
her face.

When the little boy peered up at the
chandelier, pointed a chubby finger and said,
“See! See!” — her response was a terse, “Eat!”
And when the little girl squirmed and tried
insistently to get her mother’s attention, the
unseeing, uncaring reply was, “Be quiet —
sit up.”

When Jack and I finished eating and he
went to pay the bill, I walked over to the
table where this mother and her youngsters
were sitting.

“You are so fortunate,” I said.

With a bit of a start, she asked, “Why?”

“You have such beautiful children — they
are so sweet,” I said. Then I leaned down
and looked into the eyes of the little boy
and said, “You are so good.” My reward
was a bright, innocent smile.

“I’m good too,” said the little girl.

“I know you are, honey,” I acknowledged.
“What a sweet sister you are…and so pretty!”
With just those few words, the child
blossomed like a rose.

The mother barely smiled, even during
the little conversation I was having with her
children — she hardly responded, managing
a mumbled “Thank you” as I walked away.

I couldn’t help wondering how many
children are rebuffed and desensitized by
parents whose eyes are too full of other
things to really see and respond to their
own youngsters.

“You are a delight!”

Jerry Dillon is head of Century HealthCare,
the largest health-care provider for children
in the country. His organization operates
52 youth programs and 19 facilities in nine
states, specializing in treating emotionally-troubled

“If parents would look for the things in
their children that delight them, and tell
them so, what a difference it would make,”
says Dillon. “A great prescription to help
build a better relationship and a stronger
bond between parent and child is simply
for the parent to find some reason each day
to tell his son or daughter, “You are a

Much of what we feel — delight or
aggravation — is communicated through our eyes,
whether we verbalize it or not. So often I’ve
noticed how a child will look into its mother’s
(or father’s) face for approval, guidance,
security, reassurance, and love. Without a
word being spoken, so many important
things are communicated…through the eyes
of a child.

Suffer the little children

No wonder children were attracted to
our Saviour during His earthly ministry.
The New Testament tells how the children
thronged about Him until the disciples were
going to send them away. But the Lord
said, “Suffer the little children to come unto
me, and forbid them not: for of such is the
kingdom of God
(Mark 10: 14).

The Bible doesn’t tell us specifically, but
I’m very sure each of those little ones came
close to the Lord and looked up into His
face, directly into His eyes. What they saw
there — love, acceptance, safety — made them
relax and feel free. I think they wanted to
climb up onto His lap and just be near Him.

Many learned and wise theologians have
speculated about the meaning of Jesus’
words concerning children and the kingdom
of God. Certainly I do not claim to have
greater knowledge or wisdom than they
have. But I have my own idea about what
He meant.

Perhaps He was suggesting that if we
looked up into His eyes more often, we would
find the peace, direction, and strength we
need for our lives. We can find the answer
for guilt, sorrow, pain, and loneliness in
ourSaviour’sloving gaze.

Keep your eyes on Jesus

Our problems come when we take our
eyes off Jesus, when we look away from His
love, guidance, strength, and sustaining power.

The Gospel of Matthew relates the
thrilling story of Peter walking on the water
toward Jesus. The Lord had come to the
disciples as their boat was tossed by a
stormy sea. As long as Peter kept his eyes
on Jesus, he was fine. But when he saw
the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and

[began] to sink (Matthew 14:30).

I’ve found in my own experience that
when I felt life’s problems were about to
overwhelm me, it was because I had taken
my eyes off Jesus and fixed them on my
troubles. When I looked to Him, He saw me through.

From time to time, I meet an individual
who is disillusioned — even cynical — about
the Church. Sometimes they say they have
lost their faith — they don’t believe in
anything anymore.

As I visit with people like this, I usually
discover that they have been disappointed
in the mistakes and failures of a particular
religious leader — their eyes had been fixed
on a man. Once they looked back to Jesus,
the bitterness and disillusionment lost its
intensity, and the healing love of Christ
could make them over again.

One of the most beautiful and powerful
verses in all of the Bible, for me, is found in
Matthew’s account of Peter, James, and
John at the transfiguration of Christ. After
the disciples had bowed down in the
awesome presence of God, Jesus told them not
to be afraid. And the scripture says —

And when they had lifted up their eyes,
they saw no man, save Jesus only
(Matthew 17:8).

No wonder Jesus said we should become
as little children to enter the kingdom of
God. Their eyes are focused in the right
direction. Lord help us to keep our eyes on
You…to seek Your will by looking into Your
face — through the eyes of a child!