Austin City Limits

My husband loves to record the show ACL and then watch at our leisure. He often discovers new-to-him musical talent that way. Recently they featured Jackson Browne. We knew him from years ago (think 1978) but had lost touch with his talent. When he sang “Doctor My Eyes” I was reminded of my early walk with Jesus and the pain of seeing others who were suffering. The lyrics are as follows. I have added an almost 5 minute video if you want to hear the song again.

Doctor, my eyes have seen the years 
and the slow parade of fears without crying
Now I want to understand

I have done all that I could
To see the evil and the good without hiding
You must help me if you can

Doctor, my eyes
Tell me what is wrong
Was I unwise to leave them open for so long?

'Cause I have wandered through this world
As each moment has unfurled
I've been waiting to awaken form these dreams

People go just where they will
I never noticed them until I got this feeling
That it's later than it seems

Doctor, my eyes
Tell me what you see,
I hear their cries
Just say if it's too late for me

Doctor, my eyes
Cannot see the sky
Is this the prize for having learned how not to cry?

Trust me, by 1978 I had learned plenty about crying. I also had learned that the Lord does hear our cries. Browne sings “I have done all that I could to see the evil from the good without hiding, you must help me if you can.” And the Word says He wants us to grow up and learn this discernment.

But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

Hebrews 5:14 NIV

He does not give us everything we want. He so often provides just exactly what we need. It was interesting to revisit the feelings evoked by His song and realize how much better I understand the Lord now than I did at the time I first listened to Jackson Browne. God is moved with compassion and He will help us.

The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.

Psalm 145:8 NIV

I have been reading a book entitled Night Bird Calling by Cathy Gohlke. This conversation was between a young woman being manipulated by an abusive father and abusive husband who said their doings were the will of God. She is talking with an older, wiser, truly Christian woman.

“Then you’ve only known people who take the name of the Lord in vain.” That caught me short. “Jesus called Jews of every social rank. He called women and children and people from Samaria and tax collectors and prostitutes and the down-and-out to Himself. He called unlearned fishermen for the greatest work in the history of the world. He called the humble and the penitent and those who were smart enough to recognize their need of a Savior and to see that need fulfilled in Him. Those people followed Him, surrendered their all to Him, and obeyed His commands. They are the ones who deserve the name ‘Christian’—Christ followers. Anything less, anything Pharisaic and legalistic and arrogant, takes His name in vain. Velma reminds me of the elder brother in the parable of the Prodigal Son—totally unaware that her position in the community was given her.” “Are you saying Velma Richards is not a Christian?” I was astonished by Aunt Hyacinth’s lengthy tirade and perversely thrilled with her defiance. Aunt Hyacinth chuckled. “Well, not to her face.” She grew serious just as quickly. “But I’m saying that you need to recognize the difference between what people claim to be and what they are, and take that into account when you make your decision.”

Night Bird Calling by Cathy Gohlke

Recognize the difference – SEE – the difference between pretense and reality.

Doctor Jesus, we need Your healing for our eyes. We need Your wisdom for our lives. Awaken us from the dream of thinking we know and understand others at a depth. Help us to see as You see and know as You know. Amen.

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