March 24, 2012

Open, Illuminated

Ephesians 1:17-23

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened … that you may know the hope to which he has called you … .
—Ephesians 1:18


What a blessing it is to read this prayer of the apostle Paul! He asks that God will open, or enlighten, the eyes of our hearts. Why? That we may “know him better,” have “the Spirit of wisdom and revelation,” and know the hope of all that God promises to us. With hearts open to the wonder of all that God has done, we are empowered by his Spirit to live faithfully for him, as Jesus did.

When we are open to God’s working in and through our lives, we are like a blank page on which he writes his poetry, an empty canvas on which he works his artistry, softened clay with which he molds his vessel.

Perhaps the right combination is openheartedness and singlemindedness—our heart and mind equally devoted to the God of infinite wisdom.

William Henry Temple Gairdner (1873-1928), a missionary to Cairo, Egypt, prayed as a young student, “Come in Jesus, and make me brave, retiring, humble, hardy, large-hearted, strenuous, pure, loving.” And then at home briefly in Scotland, he stood on a windswept seawall and asked God to make him “calm, pure, fresh, fragrant, open, and spacious as the sea.”

Lent is a good time to have hearts open and illuminated to all that our Lord has done, all that he can do in our lives, and all that we can look forward to in sure hope.

Jesus, encourage us in the singleminded pursuit of being open to your wisdom and your working in our lives. In your name we hope. Amen.

About the author — Dale Vander Veen

Dale Vander Veen is a retired Christian Reformed pastor who with his wife, Edith, has ministered in California, Washington, and Michigan. They have three married children and six grandchildren. He currently writes a daily e-mail series of devotions.

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