Today The Elisha Foundation welcomes families to the Cannon Beach Christian Conference Center for their winter retreat. Greg Lucas, author of Wrestling with an Angel, is leading participants through Ephesians 1 and 2 over the four days.
Ephesians 1:15-21 includes one of the longest and most glorious sentences in the Bible:
15 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.
Pastor John opened this up for me some years ago in a sermon he preached, “Open My Eyes that I May See.”
In Ephesians 1:18 Paul prays this way. He says, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling . . .” In other words, “I’ve taught you these things and you have received them with your external senses, but unless you perceive the glory of them with your spiritual sense (“the eyes of your heart”) you will not be changed. (See also Ephesians 3:14-19; Colossians 1:9 with 3:16). Now these are Christians he is writing to, which shows that we need to go on praying until we get to heaven for spiritual eyes to see.
This was in 1998, when we didn’t know about the autism and multiple other things going on in our son’s body. All we knew for sure was that he was blind.
But God gripped me when I heard that statement from Pastor John: Paul’s physical blindness was absolutely no obstacle to God’s good work in his life! He did not need eyes in his head to see Jesus, because the eyes that clearly see who Jesus is see through a new heart that only God can provide.
It was another gift from God in building my understanding of who God is, and increasing my affections for him.
The families attending this retreat, if I understand Justin Reimer correctly, are coming with all kinds of issues, and many different understandings of who God is in relation to their family’s situation with disability. Please pray that we would all have enlightened heart-eyes and would cling to our Jesus!