For a long time, I viewed God in my mind’s eye as expansive like the sunrise: infinite, great, and yet, in that view…far away. Looking down at me, but inaccessible. While He is expansive, infinite, and great, God also knows the desires of my soul and the number of hairs on my head. He is closer than the sunrise, kinder than the blazing sun, and more intimate than sunset expanding across the horizon.

My friend has always loved a particular picture of Jesus, but I didn’t understand it. She had the same picture hanging in her stairway the last time I visited her. I couldn’t wrap my head around what was so compelling about the picture.

A few years later I ran across a portrait of Jesus by a little girl who paints things she sees in her dreams. The author of a book I was reading referenced the painting, pointing out Jesus’s eyes. I wanted to consider that, to see if there was something more there for me to know about Him by spending some time looking at that painting. I hadn’t ever pictured looking into Jesus’s eyes. I wanted to know Him with that sort of closeness.

I taped that little picture to the wall above the desk where I read my Bible. When I started praying while looking at that small cutout picture of Jesus with eyes that looked back at me, kind and welcoming, caring and understanding, my approach to Him changed. I started picturing Him listening to me and whispering truths to me. I pictured Him waiting…waiting for me to come to Him each day to talk with Him. As I have spent time with a more personal view of Jesus, I have experienced His great love and looked deeply into His eyes. He knows my heart, my worries, and the things that trip me up. With open arms, He welcomes me back. This picture of Jesus, looking into His eyes as I pray and seeing Him look back at me, helps me to connect personally with our very personal God.

I texted my friend to ask her why she liked the Jesus pictures. She sent me the exact portrait I was referring to from years ago and said, “It’s because I see love in His eyes.” That is what was so compelling about the pictures of Jesus. I see it now.

A different posture is what I am seeking…authentic interactions with my God who is personal to me. Let’s look into the eyes of our Savior and see ourselves as truly known by the God we know…intimately. Refine your approach, change your everything.

This is the free life, seeing the reality around us of our very personal God. The truth that is waiting to be realized in each moment. This is the love I never knew I always wanted.

Kirstin Ricketts