There is More Than Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder

“When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son. Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.”

– John 19:26-27

You have seen people with your eyes. But have you ever “beheld” anyone? Has anyone ever “beheld” you? 

“BEHOLD!”It sounds like something a magician would say. Or a prophet. It suggests that you’re about to see something astonishing, so don’t blink or you’ll miss it!

But when the word is applied to relationships, it has a connotation that reaches much deeper than focused observation, however astounding. It becomes pregnant with meaning; laden with feeling.  It is a language unto itself; a language that needs no words or translation.

 If I “behold” you, I hold you with my eyes and you get the sense of being held.  If I behold you, I wordlessly communicate that you are supremely important to me. And, as we see with Jesus as he provides for his mother’s care even in the midst of excruciating suffering from the cross: If I behold you, I take personal responsibility for you and your well-being.

So how does it feel to be on the receiving end? How does it feel when someone “beholds” you?

But you already know that, don’t you. It’s the greatest feeling in the world. It makes you feel happy, secure, noticed, valued, cared for, included, singled out as special among all others. It heals what is broken. It restores your soul.  

If you know the feeling of being held in someone else’s eyes, you also know it’s a gift that is transformative and rare. Unless we are reminded from time to time, our “beholding” fades into “seeing”, “seeing” into “noticing”, and “noticing” into commonplace, somewhat vague “awareness”.

 JMI’s volunteers in Moldova understand what it means to “behold” another. We’ve been doing a lot of that this summer. We have seen the light turn on in a child’s eyes when they see us beholding them. And we have felt the blessing of their being seep down into our souls when we realize that they are beholding us in return.

 This is a transaction of grace. This is the Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven, where the significance of every single person is recognized and celebrated along with the angels.
There are children in Moldova who are seen, but never “beheld”. To be truthful, many of them never even thought such a thing was possible until they experienced it among us.  Now they literally pray that someone will behold them. No, not in those words, but articulated clearly enough through the mixture of longing and lostness in their eyes.
We at JMI have the impossibly audacious goal of finding Americans who will “behold” every orphaned, abandoned, anonymous, and deprived child in Moldova. It’s for their own good.  It’s also, and in every way just as powerfully, for our own good. For you see, my friends…
Jesus is in the eye of the beholder!

 

 

 

Steve Davis

Founding Director, JMI

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