The Heaven in His Eyes.

bible memory match

bible memory match

I played Bible Memory Match-up game with my kids this morning.

I know what you’re thinking: Of course you did, you’re a pastor’s wife, but he truth is, that I don’t generally buy or immerse my kids in “christian” versions of things and here’s why:

I don’t want them to grow up thinking that everything not labelled Christian is bad, or not for them or that things labelled “christian” are necessarily true. I want them to learn how to relate to the actual world around them and not the sterilized church version they could have if I keep them in a bubble… and I want them to ask questions about the truth in things.

I mean, we’re talking about a memory game here, but on principle I don’t generally like the Christian versions of things because it feels like we, the church, are cloistering ourselves off from the “rest of them” when I am pretty sure that’s who Jesus wants us to be hanging out with.

When it came time to clean up the game I noticed the “Jairus’ Daughter” card, then an old song hit me smack upside the head, hard. So hard that I stopped what I was doing to sit down with a basket of laundry and listen to it.

Instead of watching Netflix…. I know, right?

But I didn’t fold laundry, I just listened to it with goose-bumps everywhere and an unfolded pair of pants in my hand.

Then I played it again.

The song is called “Heaven in his eyes” by Rich Mullins. and if you click the link you can listen to it on you-tube. It’s scratchy because it was recorded on a tape player in an old church nine days before the man singing died in a terrible car accident.

In keeping with the lack of Christian paraphernalia around the house, I don’t listen to a lot of Christian music.

I think it’s a throw back to the days when I thought EVERYTHING had to be Christian in order for it to be okay, then I walked away… now I’m trying to walk back again.

Anyway, there is a Christian artist who I have always allowed in my life, in every season, good or bad and that’s Rich Mullins.

Rich Mullins was not a shiny religious artist, he was a barefooted ragamuffin who’s main focus was actually Jesus… and people. He was the real thing and his life made a major impact on my Dad… and then me. I still remember listening to the radio and crying with my Dad when he died in 1997.

After his death, his last album was released, and it was all about Jesus.

Not the white, shiny, church-window Jesus but like… gritty, real, Jesus.

He said that he thought we all needed to hear about Jesus, that maybe we were missing it somehow and I think he was right. I think we’re missing it.


So the song goes like this…

See the teacher, sitting on a mountain, See him walking along the shore
His friends and disciples, gathering around him
They say “never spake a man like this before”

But why is a man as wise as he, weeping alone in Gethsemane?
Could he know that some would never see the heaven in his eyes?

See the master, walking on the water
Hear him speak and calm an angry wave
Look at him raising up Jairus’ daughter
And with a word Lazarus comes forth from the grave

Why is a man as strong as this
Being betrayed by a good friend’s kiss?
Could it be that maybe this man missed the heaven in his eyes?

Now I’m not talking about your pie in the sky
That your good girls and boys get in the by and by
But rather the strength, that we could find
If we got the guts to try

See the teacher, playing with the children
Hear him baffle the doctors of the law
Look at the people gathering to go with him
Those who see the vision that he saw

This is why a man as holy as he
Had to die alone on Calvary
Cuz it was the only way we could ever see
The heaven in his eyes

So I sat there with my laundry in my hand and just listened to these words, because guys… I’ve missed it.

The heaven in his eyes, in his words, in his story.

At first I missed it in all the things I thought a Christian or the church should be
Then I missed it because I was overstuff full of Christian culture and busy focusing on everything I thought that church should NOT be.

At first too religious, then … too disillusioned.

But I don’t want to miss it anymore. I want to see the heaven in his eyes and offer it to my kids, to my neighbors, in a real-love, come on in and lets’ talk about it do you want some soup sort of way.

And not the “pie in the sky,” jewels in my crown, mansion in the sky someday heaven… the right now kind that we can bring to the world with our love.

The sort of love that loves people even though, as a rule, it can get messy and dirty and hard.

I have struggled for years and years over what God allows and what he holds stays off.
I still struggle.

But I think I can see Jesus, be just one little iota more like him today.

I think I can grab my bible and read about Jesus and allow that heaven to wash over me, to believe that the story is for me, for who I am and what I need and not everything that I am not.

I think I need to.

I think we all need to.

We need to look at how Jesus treated people, what he put up with and grace for, and what he couldn’t tolerate and then be that heaven.

I think sometimes I can be what Jesus wouldn’t have tolerated, but I really don’t want to anymore.

I hope you take time to listen to this scratchy old recording of a song that hit an actual CD almost 20 years ago. Maybe you’ll get the goose-bumps too, or maybe it’s just me and my journey.

And that’s okay too, maybe I didn’t write this for me, I don’t know, it isn’t for me to know what the rain God sends down does after it leaves the clouds, ya know?

  • Rea

    This is beautiful. Right now I am struggling to see the heaven in his eyes. Or maybe I’m struggling to see the heaven in his people; I don’t know. I feel both closer to him than ever, and yet further away at the same time. At first too religious, and now too disillusioned. And I’m trying to storm my way around the gatekeepers who want to say what faith looks like so that I can find that place where we sit down with each other and just breathe in the presence of one who loves us so much.

    Also, I now need to go dig out my Rich Mullins CD’s because I need to hear that journey of wrestling and praising and being gritty and real all over again.

    • Leanne Penny

      I think we find ourselves in the same place, but I believe that God sees us here and is proud of our questioning, our struggling to get closer to the truth.

      Hopefully the CD helps? If not that, something else… something surprisingly lovely.