“Your love is ever before my eyes,” prays the psalmist. His or her vision of life has been transformed by having experienced and known the love of God for him or her, for others, for all creation. I am reminded of the words of rabbi Harold Kushner who said that faith is the eyes with which we see the world. Faith may not transform the world all on its own, but it transforms how we see this earth, how we see ourselves, how we see those we encounter. The psalmist’s vision has been transformed by seeing God’s love.
What does having God’s “love … ever before” our “eyes”?
It is to see ourselves and the world around us more and more as God sees it when God, like a mother does toward her child, sees this world and all of us through the eyes of love. It is to see others as valuable, just as a spouse sees their beloved in a different way when they view them through their eyes of love. Julian of Norwich beautifully pictured the eyes with which God sees each of us and our world in her Revelation of Divine Love. She wrote:
“… [Christ] showed me a little thing, the quantity of a hazel nut, lying in the palm of my hand, as it seemed. And it was as round as any ball. I looked upon it with the eye of my understanding, and thought, ‘What may this be?’ And it was answered generally thus, ‘It is all that is made.’ I marveled how it might last, for I thought it might suddenly have fallen to nothing for littleness. And I was answered in my understanding: It lasts and ever shall, for God loves it. And so have all things their beginning by the love of God.
“In this little thing I saw three properties. The first is that God made it. The second that God loves it. And the third, that God keeps it. But what is this to me? Truly, the Creator, the Keeper, the Lover. For until I am substantially “oned” to him, I may never have full rest nor true bliss. That is to say, until I be so fastened to him that there is nothing that is made between my God and me.
“This little thing which is created seemed to me as if it could have fallen into nothing because of its littleness. We need to have knowledge of this, so that we may delight in despising as nothing everything created, so as to love and have uncreated God. For this is the reason why our hearts and souls are not in perfect ease, because here we seek rest in this thing which is so little, in which there is no rest, and we do not know our God who is almighty, all wise and all good, for he is true rest. God wishes to be known, and it pleases him that we should rest in him; for everything which is beneath him is not sufficient for us. And this is the reason why no soul is at rest until it has despised as nothing all things which are created. When it by its will has become nothing for love, to have him who is everything, then is it able to receive spiritual rest.”
When we see those around us, ourselves, and all the creatures of God’s world as loved and loveable, as worthy of life and respect, and as valuable, we begin to see ourselves & others with God’s eyes: the eyes of one who births all of us into the world with love, who keeps all of us with love, and who will ensure that even if we die none of us will ever eternally perish by keeping all of us forever in God’s love.
This vision does seem to catch on with the psalmist, not through simply having warm thoughts but also through action. They write in the Psalm of how God could search them and see them living lives where they strive to treat others fairly and with justice, where they honor those around them, and where their hands are not red with the blood that stains the hands of those who oppress or trample under foot their neighbor to go ahead.
Seeing others through the eyes of God’s love leads the Psalmist to see those she or he encounters as lovable, valuable, and worth honoring and protecting. It leads them to strive to treat all around them, including the often overlooked or mistreated, with respect, with justice & fairness, and with compassion and service. It caused the Psalmist, too, to be able to come boldly to God expecting to be accepted and heard, because they know that God views them personally as loveable, valuable, and one whom God birthed, loves, and keeps out of love.
God, help us to see ourselves as you do – as your children, whom you love, in whom you are well pleased. Help us to know we can come boldly and honestly to you and will be heard and accepted. Help us put aside fears of rejection, knowing that those you birth into this world, you love. Those you love, you keep and sustain. Those you keep and sustain, you can never reject but always make a way to continue on in your love.
God, helps us to see others in this way, to treat all we encounter with the love you show us. Help us even to learn to love this earth and all your creations with the same love you shed abroad in each creature.