My Eyes Burn by Barry Carpenter

08.03.16 | by Barry Carpenter

     When I am deeply moved my eyes burn and tears well up inside me. I thank God for the ability to feel deeply about things that cause emotion.  I am not ruled by my emotions but they are a legitimate expression of my soul…of life’s experiences, of the people I meet and what moves me about the world. 

     My eyes burn today when I thought of Lynn Wheeler. Lynn had been confined to a wheelchair for over a decade, paralyzed from the neck down due to a car accident. Before her accident, she ran marathons, played competitive tennis, coached swimming, and played the guitar. She was also a fully engaged church member, friend, neighbor, wife, mother and grandmother.

     Her pastor, Scott, said, While many would grow cynical and angry toward God after such a harsh turn of events, Lynn dropped her anchor into God’s promises. Lynn Wheeler—from her wheelchair—was one of the most joyful, faith-filled, affirming and other-focused people you could meet. Her resolve that God is good in every circumstance, coupled with her optimism about the hope and future that God had prepared for her, led her to speak of her disability not chiefly as an affliction, but as her “assignment.” Lynn was determined that her disability would be an opportunity for God to receive glory in and through her.

    When she woke up after being sedated for seven weeks in ICU and was told about the accident, the first thought she had was a verse from Psalm 139: “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:16).  

    She would later write: “My body is a mess right now, but it is well with my soul…I know my days are ordained for me, and God will comfort and strengthen me when I am weak. I cling to His truth, though it doesn’t make sense. His plans for me continue, though everything has changed…I take joy in the little things; find protection in my limitations. I think of heaven more.”  My eyes burn!

    My eyes burned this week when I stroked the brow of a precious man about to breathe his last breath knowing that God had answered his prayer for personal and eternal peace.  I was able to announce to all that his life belonged to God. My eyes burn!

    My eyes burned this month as I stood at the site of the World Trade Center in New York City and saw the names of 1402 persons that went to their death in Tower One and 614 persons in Tower 2.  It is a sobering experience to stand at the site of one of the greatest tragedies in American history that changed the course of our republic in our lifetime.  My eyes burn!

     My eyes burned in the last two weeks as I watched and listened to the two major political parties in this country pronounce their vision for America and the world.  I was poignantly reminded that our hope must be in God!  I weep for what we have lost in this country.  I weep for the violence in cities of our world where demonic forces lead people to commit atrocities.  I weep for a fellow priest who lost his life at the Table of our Lord!  I weep for the millions of children who live with unknown potential and the millions of children lost to the evil of abortion…the modern plague.   I weep for the dearth of true leaders and for the cloud of apathy and ignorance that hangs over us. My eyes burn!

     My eyes burned Monday night in a Celebrate Recovery worship experience at Destin United Methodist Church where many people were singing passionately about coming into a new joy of living after moving from their old hurts, habits, and hang ups to embrace a new life in Jesus Christ.  People who are looking at themselves and the world through new lenses moved me. My eyes burned when my own son stood behind a microphone to share the overcoming power of God to change his life to be filled with God designed purpose. My eyes burn!

    My eyes burn for the greatest idea that I have ever heard. I am constantly amazed at the most incredible thing anyone has ever conveyed.  Hear it….God loves us and we are not alone!  Yes, our world is troubled.  Yes, people have accidents and die.  Yes, our nation is at war from without and within.  BUT love wins and there is hope.  A sovereign God loves us and will never abandon us. My eyes burn!



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