What is it about a person’s eyes? When you meet someone you learn about them from their eyes, as they do about you; they seem to be windows into the soul. They can communicate joy, anger, sensuality, elation or despair in an instant.
Artists will say how hard it is to capture the eyes in a portrait – maybe because they are always changing. Some people learn to disguise their souls with control of their eyes, but it’s not easy.
David’s agony continues as he moves form the cry of “how long will this last?”, to a request for some specific help. His requests are all about eyes. Firstly, he asks God to look on him. He needs a gaze from God to energise him; he wants God to stop hiding his face and look right at him and give him some answers.
How many times have you asked someone to look at you? It is said to a concussed patient – “look at me”; it is said to a hysterical fearful person – “look at me”; it is said to a loved one who has turned away – “look at me”.
But in this psalm, David is the concussed, hysterical, ignored one and the cry is “look at me”.
What’s going on in your work right now? If it is a struggle, a deep despair, or a discouragement, which in your opinion is going on far too long, then you will know how David feels. You have battled for funding, recognition, success or progress and it feels like you are losing; you have a faith but the thing just doesn’t seem to work at the moment. You may pray the same prayer, “look at me” because you want your God to notice, to see, to turn his face to you, and you are in good company. David was a man after God’s own heart – a friend even, of God, yet he still needed to shout “look at me!”
His request was also for his own eyes; the light had gone out of them. Somehow the sparkle that had been there when he was a boy shepherd was gone; the fire of the young man who had killed the giant had gone out; the abandonment of the dancing hero had gone away and he knew it.
“I want my light back” is his request, “or I will die”. Unless you have been there it’s hard to understand this, but many of you have and some of you will. It is the dark night – the “why have you forsaken me?” moment, the hours after the arrest or the Elijah at Horeb; it is Mary after the Cross and Ruth after her bereavements; it is the disappointments of the unfulfilled hope, life on the brink.
And anyone who has ever been anything has been there. You might like to use your eyes to see the company you are in all saying “look at me and give me light”.
Thankfully the question is directed to someone who specialises in light, so don’t look away just yet.
3 Look on me and answer, O Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;
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