“You are the apple of my eye.” It’s a familiar line…but did you know it comes from the pages of the Bible? The “apple” of the eye referred to the pupil of the eye probably because an apple was one of the most common sphere-shaped objects around. The apple or “pupil” of the eye, is the gateway through which visible light passes and is converted by the brain into three dimensional images. The original Hebrew phrase, often translated “apple,” really means “little man” or “little daughter” of my eye. Look into someone’s eyes right now. Can you see your reflection? When we stand very close to someone, we can actually see a tiny reflection of ourselves, in the center of the other person’s eye. When you are in the “apple” of my eye you are close to me, in more ways than one, because…
To be “the apple” of someone’s eye is to be cherished by that person above all others. At infancy, the optimal distance for eye to eye contact is about 10 inches – which just happens to be the distance between a baby and its nursing mother. This simple interaction encourages brain development, release of critical hormones, and reinforces a sense of emotional and spiritual well being. “You are the apple of my eye.” It’s a phrase that a mother could easily use to describe how she cherishes her nursing baby. But the root meaning of this phrase is found not in the expression of human love, but God’s.
In Deut. 32: 9-11 Moses describes how God sustained and cared for his people “as the apple of his eye.” Likewise, in Psalm 139:13-16 David rejoices: “It was You who formed my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother’s womb...Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.” Before any human eye beheld you, it was God’s privilege to be the first to see you, the very first to love you; and it is God’s promise to guard you “like the apple of his eye!”
Do you remember these lines? “You are the sunshine of my life, that’s why I’ll always be around. You are the apple of my eye; forever you’ll stay in my heart.” What makes Stevie Wonder’s song so beautiful to me is that he is blind. He has never seen the sunshine. He has never been able to look into the apple of someone’s eye. When he sung those words, he was singing about someone who enabled him to see with the eyes of his heart. He was singing about how love had brought a new beginning to his life and wiped away his tears. But now we know that this is a song rooted not in human love, but in God’s love.
Whether this Valentine’s Day brings thoughts of happiness or sadness, joy or loss, remember that you are the sunshine of God’s life and that you are the apple of his eye. He wants to open the eyes of your heart, to surround you like the warmth of a mother’s love. God wants you to feel cherished through the love of his people too; and -- God wants to be cherished by you. You are the apple of my eye, says the LORD, but I will not, I cannot, rest until I am the apple of yours.