John Alan Turner

Speaker, Author, Mentor, Coach, Facilitator

An All-Seeing Eye

I've written about this before, but when I was growing up, our church would sing a hymn that really creeped me out. It went like this:

All along on the road to the soul's true abode,

There's an Eye watching you.

Every step that you take this great Eye is awake,

There's an Eye watching you.

Watching you, watching you,

Everyday mind the course you pursue;

Watching you, watching you,

There's an all-seeing Eye watching you.

Cue the scary music. We're being watched.

There's an interesting story behind this song. The guy who wrote it (J.M. Henson) was at a revival meeting where he heard the revival leader tell a group of boys who had misbehaved the previous night, "We're expecting order here and you had better be careful, because there's an all-seeing eye watching you tonight."

He was referring to the county sheriff whom he had personally invited to the revival that night. Henson thought of God as the ultimate sheriff and wrote the lyric above.

It's hard to be friends with a sheriff. It's hard to feel comfortable around someone whose primary responsibility is to scrutinize your behavior and correct you when you go astray.

Actually, I've known a few sheriffs in my lifetime, and they're pretty likable folks -- but you know what I mean. We tend to flinch and get nervous when we notice a police car in the rearview mirror -- even if we're not doing anything wrong.

For lots of people, I'm afraid that the primary reason they never experience friendship with Jesus is because they're stuck on this image of God as an All-Seeing Eye watching them, just waiting for a reason to zap them.

But what if we could somehow redeem this image of God's watchful presence? What if, instead of God's eye being trained on the boundaries with judgment as its focus, God's eye is squarely directed at you as an object of love, desire and devotion?

What if God loves you so much that he simply can't take his eyes off of you?

How might that kind of image change a person's relationship with Jesus?