If you look at my profile picture, you will see that I wear glasses. A few months ago this was not the case. It only changed when I took part in a family trip to the eye doctor. It was my very first eye exam. When I tell people this, they seem genuinely shocked; yet I thought this was normal. I never had problems with my eyes. When reading words on a page, they appeared clear and focused. I could see far distances without too much strain. I even downloaded an eye-chart app for my smart phone: I aced it.
It turns out I was wrong.
The optometrist diagnosed me as ‘far-sighted with astigmatism.’ At first I thought that this was an overstatement. I thought that this was a simple money-grab; that this opportunistic optometrist could not be trusted. After all, doesn’t she make her money of people coming in for repeat business? Isn’t it all about money? Was she simply trying to fleece me out of several hundreds of dollars for a set of glasses that I didn’t really need? Surely this diagnosis wasn’t at all reflective of my visual acuity! Shouldn’t I be the judge of the accuracy of my own sight?
She then demonstrated my condition. Handing me a piece of paper with lines of text on it, she asked if I could read the top line, which just happened to be the smallest text on the page. I answered affirmatively, for the text looked like a regular line of text to me. The words were neither distorted nor blurry; my eyes could focus on each individual letter; the text was clear and readable. It was then that an odd thing happened. While I looked at the line of text, (internally congratulating myself for having no ‘problems’ reading this text), she slipped a pair of glasses over my eyes. I think I verbally exclaimed ‘Oh my God!’
It was amazing the change that took place. The difference was astonishing. Those ‘clear’ letters, which I had no problems reading in the first place, became sharp and crisp. The strain that accompanied focusing on a regular page of text (a strain that I didn’t even know existed) seemed to quickly subside. It was like I could feel the muscles of my eyes relax. My vision was restored from a blindness that I didn’t know was present.
The Bible talks a lot about being able to see; about our physical and spiritual perceptions. The point, often, is that our perceptions are never as clear as we assume them to be. While we may think that our spiritual vision is perfectly in order, unbeknownst to us we suffer under an impairment or blindness. Yet the good news is that Jesus offers us healing and restoration for those impairments. He comes to bring sharpness and focus into our lives. The brilliance of his presence takes away the blindness that we may not even know exists, and strips away all those fuzzy shadows that we have inadvertently grown accustomed to.
And when that brilliant healing takes place; when the scales fall from our eyes and the blind spots are removed, we recognize in truer fashion that ultimate need we have for Jesus. Like looking at texts without the accompaniment of glasses, life simply seems incomplete without the focus and definition that He offers. In the clarity of his presence, we are able to see how dim the world is without Him.
So when is the last time that you had your vision checked? When is the last time that you looked at your spiritual eye-sight, your perceptions and insights, and tested them against the perfected clarity that Jesus offers? The season of Lent is a perfect time to do this. After all, it is in this season where we are called to acknowledge that our spiritual life is never as perfect or put together as we would like to imagine; that we all need the clarity, the definition, and the focus that only He can give. In Lent we sit uncomfortably with our own blindness, in the assurance that the one who heals us is only a moment away. Like glasses set upon distorted eyes, we are invited then to become amazed at the difference that He makes, when we allow the prideful scales to fall from our eyes, and accept that grand clarity that comes from his presence. Who knows, we may even find ourselves expressing (with an altogether different meaning) ‘O, my God.’
Has there ever been a time where God has helped you move from a place of spiritual ‘blindness’ to a place of clearer perception?