This morning, taking Cava to school, the song "I See You" by Rich Mullins came on my iPod. Now this song has played in my car numerous times but this time Cava asked, "What does that mean?"
"What does what mean?" I asked him.
"Everywhere I go I see You," he said.
I started with the easy part, the lyrics that start off the song:
Lord You're leading me
With a cloud by day
And then in the night
The glow of a burning flame
We talked about Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt and how God led them by the cloud by day and the fire by night and how if the cloud or the fire moved, they moved, but if it didn't move, they stayed put.
From there, I moved on to how we can see God in the world because He was the author and creator of all of it. One example Cava loved in the song was "Well the eagle flies." Cava loves birds, especially birds of prey, so that struck a chord with him. But we moved past nature to people. I explained to him how we are all made in the image of God and how different would we treat others if we really looked at them that way.
"Everyone?" he asked.
"Yes," I answered.
"Even those people we don't like and who are mean to us?"
"Even them. In fact, we should especially try to see God in them because He has called us to pray for them."
"Because He knows it's easy to pray for those we love, but it is very difficult to pray for those who have hurt us, wronged us, or we don't like. But when we do that, even if they don't change, it changes us because praying for someone helps you to love them. It helps us heal beause we aren't carrying that anger and hurt, but are moving in a love that is greater than ourselves."
I can see from his expression that his mind is processing this and I know what's coming and, sure enough, he brings up those who were cruel and hurt him back in Ukraine. "Cava, when we hate those who hurt us, it only hurts us. Those kids and adults in Ukraine don't know you are hating them, it doesn't effect them, it only effects you. But when you pray for them, forgive them, and learn to love them, it only heals you."
I could tell that he wasn't so sure about all this so I added, "I don't expect you to be able to do that right away. It's hard. For all of us. And you have more hurts than most of us do, but I know that when you finally are able to begin, so much of that anger that is always there inside of you will begin to go away. I pray that for you."
After he got out of the car, I wondered if he would look at those around him and see them differently. I drove off to work, got in the morning traffic, and prayed that I would do the same and began to pray for those who I might not normally pray for. I pray for Ukraine daily, but today I prayed for Putin. How often have I prayed for his destruction and not his salvation? I recalled how, during World War II, C.S. Lewis prayed for Hitler.
I began to wonder how different the world would be if we truly did pray for those we normally critized. Or how differently would it be if we did treat others as if we viewed them as image bearers of our Heavenly Father. And we might also really see someone then. Not just as a waitress, or clerk when we're checking out, or any number of other encounters during our hectic days. Or how we would approach other ethnicities, immigrants, and refugees. Or the homeless.
As Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, "Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God's handwriting."
I will definitely take that opportunity to not only try to see others that way, but to pray for others that way.