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To calm the soul requires more than a heart that is no longer haughty; it also requires eyes that are no longer lofty. Although there may be rare exceptions to the rule, the lowering of lofty eyes normally comes with age. When we are young, we believe ourselves to be the center of the universe. We believe all eyes are upon us and that the future of the human race hinges upon our individual great works and deeds. However, as we grow older we come to some painful realizations. First, we come to realize that we are only a small speck on the universal radar and in the grand scheme of things. Second, we come to realize that few people, if any, are really paying any attention to us. And finally, we come to understand that our significance to posterity will amount to nothing more than what Christ has wrought through us on those rare occasions when we’ve yielded ourselves to Him and He has wielded us in this world in the accomplishing of His plans and purposes.

In Ecclesiastes 12:1, Solomon wrote, “Remember your Creator when you are young, before the days of trouble come and the years catch up with you. They will make you say, ‘I have found no pleasure in them.’” (God’s Word Translation). This verse is obviously talking about old age’s diminishing of our physical faculties. In addition, I believe it is also referring to the fact that youth are excited and concerned about many things, but the elderly have come to realize that there really isn’t that much in life worth getting excited about or losing sleep over.

Again, Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 1:18, “For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.” The well-known adage, “Ignorance is bliss,” is true. Ignorant people have no more sense than to be happy for no reason and to be excited about insignificant things. Yet, according to the Scripture, with increased wisdom comes increased sorrow. Our Lord Himself did not go through this life giddy and turning cartwheels, but was, as Isaiah predicted, “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3).

Unbeknownst to most people, the advantage of old age is found in the fact that it whittles us down to where we realize we only have enough time and energy left to concentrate on the few things in life that really matter. No longer are we frantically pursuing lofty pipe dreams and youthful visions of grandeur, but old age has lowered our eyes so that we are calmly content concentrating on the few things in life that are really important; things like faith, family, and friends.

It took some time for David to get to the place in his life where his heart was no longer haughty and his eyes were no longer lofty. I suspect it will take some time for our lofty eyes to be lowered as well. One thing for sure, we will never know the majesty of calmness until we get to the place in life where we no longer have an exaggerated sense of self-importance. 

To calm the soul you must lower your eyes from the lofty dreams of an extraordinary life to the few things that matter in your ordinary life.

Don Walton