Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about eyes and eyesight. As you know, after having eyelid surgery earlier this summer and finally liking the way I look without sags and bags, I decided to try contacts. The first two weeks were rough. I just couldn’t get those things off my finger tip and into my eyes. I gave up for a few days, and then began trying again.
And now a month later I can quite successfully get them in and out of my eyes. Unfortunately, I’m on my third type of lens and still can’t read. I can see mid-range and far distances perfectly and LOVE it. But I’m not comfortable reading without putting my prescription eyeglasses on while wearing the contacts. I don’t think I’m yet out of options but the realization is hitting me that I may be one of the 40% who just can’t wear multifocal contact lenses. (sigh)
And while trying contacts has been both exciting and fun, I’m not willing to compromise my eyesight just to avoid wearing glasses. So if I turn out to be in that 40% then I’ll simply buy some fun glasses with a little personality and be grateful I can see!
I had another change in eyesight when I became a grandma. It wasn’t my physical eyesight so much as my perceptions. I began to see things differently. Perhaps you, too, have experienced this. But in this case, my grandma eyesight is quite acute bringing much needed understanding and patience.
When I see my three-year-old tearing the room apart and tossing toys here and there just to find the perfect one to play with, I see persistence and determination. When I see the crayon colors crossing the picture outline on a coloring page, I see creativity and a little one learning to properly hold and guide the crayon. And when a wiggly youngster eagerly gets his step stool out so he can help stir the pancake batter, I don’t see the inevitable mess all over the countertop, instead I see a willingness to help me along with complete joy when he sees Mickey Mouse magically appear on the hot griddle as his Mimi enjoys her own bit of creativity.
I didn’t have to work hard at obtaining this very special eyesight. It simply appeared the minute my oldest grandchild was born and seems to be getting sharper as time passes. And how I treasure this eyesight because I well-remember my own time as a young mom when eyesight like this had not yet developed. My tired, stressed body and mind often only perceived the physical realm rather than the development of a precious child.
As children of God we are supposed to have similar eyesight—one that is very perceptive, one that enables us to see things as God sees them. We call this spiritual eyesight. When God’s point of view is perceived in a situation and we can see as he sees, we have gain understanding and often wisdom as well. Having this perception enables us to have patience as we wait on God to work things out in his timeframe and in his way. It also gives us perspective and guidance as to what we should or shouldn’t do.
I think this spiritual eyesight is sometimes given instantly by God for a specific circumstance. But most times I believe it comes experientially over time. We simply learn, much like I learned over the years to see things differently than when I was younger. Sometimes we get it right and sometimes we miss it, but if we’re willing, this eyesight brings color, dimension, and detail beyond our imagination.
How often have I seen the homeless man in the intersection begging for money as a nuisance rather than as someone who is having a rough time? How often at the store has impatience caused me to forget that the bent and feeble senior citizen digging for coins in his pocket is a man at the end of his earthly journey who deserves respect and appreciation? And how often has the “hurry-up” inside of me so focused on the destination caused me to miss the beauty of my surroundings.
The Bible offers us many illustrations of people just like us who need to have God’s eyesight. One of these stories is where Jesus walks on the water and Peter jumps out of the boat to go to him (Matthew 14:28-31, The Message).
“Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, ‘Master, save me!’
Jesus didn’t hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand. Then he said, ‘Faint-heart, what got into you?’
The two of them climbed into the boat, and the wind died down. The disciples in the boat, having watched the whole thing, worshiped Jesus, saying, ‘This is it! You are God’s Son for sure!’”
First Peter had spiritual eyesight. He saw Jesus and actually got out of the boat. (How cool is that.) And he walked on water. But then he lost his spiritual eyesight and only looked with physical eyes. He began to sink. (Ooh, bad choice, Peter!) But he found those spiritual eyes again when Jesus spoke to him. And even the rest of the disciples gained spiritual eyes because they were able to look beyond the water-walking miracle and see Jesus as God’s son!
Father, like Peter, I desperately need spiritual eyes. I need to see as you see. I need your understanding and your wisdom. Teach me, show me, help me. In your precious name, amen.