“The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light…” -Matthew 6:22
I once was blind, but now I see.
Vision is both a physical and a philosophical entity.
On the one hand, we are unable to see the world around us without our eyesight. We awaken each day and find a world of color and light bringing to us all the nuances of living. To our eyes, darkness is the veil of gloom, something we fear, and rightly so. As we age our eyes change and many become victims of cataracts or worse. As the light begins to fade, too often so does the spirit. That virility of the drive in our youth begins to wane, and as the sunset of life cast dark shadows around us. We sense an end, but there is so much more.
The other aspect of vision is that of the ability to spiritually or mentally see something that is not there. Some call having vision the gift to see into the future and to be able to prophesize as to what is to come. Others call having vision, the ability to think ahead of oneself and create something mentally before it exists. No matter which vision we are speaking of, there is something to be seen which is not evident, neither terrestrial or physical.
Before I had answered his calling to serve at the Trail, the optometrist had warned me of a quickly growing cataract. However, once the wheels of the journey began, there was little time to deal with physical ailments, let alone the fact that Marketplace Insurance would do little to cover the costs of the surgery needed to fix the affliction. So I continued on while the ever growing and diminishing eyesight continued.
All along, I knew in order to be better serve in my capacity as the Director of the Trail, I would have to be as the scriptures read, to die to my former self. “That was simple,” I reasoned. “I’m no longer an engineer, rather, I need to learn how to minister to those seeking faith.” As a dedicated Christian, everything I did, I did with an eye toward the Lord. So, I poured over the Bible like never before. I studied Church history and spent every waking hour filling my mind with the knowledge of what it would take to better serve Him. Every day, my eyesight grew dimmer as the darkness grew. The harder I worked, the greater the scope of the darkness around me seemed to expand as well. There had been many bridges burned before I ever arrived, whether intentional or not. Not only did I face a physical obstruction within, but there was also a force beyond that could not be battled alone. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”-1 Peter 5:8 In essence, I realized that to make the Trail all it could be, would take many years, not just a couple; nonetheless, I pushed on.
All the while, a greater awareness of the spiritual world around me began to take hold. There amongst the prayers, the coincidences that weren’t, to the unexplainable events a new perception of reality began to take hold. A new vision through the eyes of faith began to color the world around me. Like a shift from the days of black and white TV, to those of color TV, there was a gradual enrichment of life. This sweeter taste of living began to overwhelm my senses to the point nothing else compared. The desires of the past paled to what I now could see through the eyes of my new spirituality.
Meanwhile, God was making new plans for me, for this was not the final resting place in my journey; it was just the beginning, a stepping stone.
I soon found one door closing and a new one opening. Blessings answered doubts, fears were replaced with joys. However, amongst the beautiful changes, there was still the ever encroaching darkness. Day-by-day, the cataract grew until the vision out of my right eye was like looking through a sheet of wax paper. My left eye was deteriorating as well; time was running out. To add to the struggle, the drive to and from the new career required driving along curvy mountain roads unlike any I had ever traversed in my lifetime. The thought of those winding country roads back where I grew up on in Posey and Warrick Counties came to mind, but they were nothing compared to these mountain hairpin turns. At times they literally can take your breath away as you peer into the abyss that lay below, where no guardrail exists to block your view. My vision ha become so severe that at I would pray before leaving the house for School in the pre-dawn hours knowing what lay ahead. The ultimate test came the day the fog was so thick the lines on the road were barely visible. As I drove up the mountain, the fog increased in its density as the rain began to fall. Curve after curve, the rain and fog decreased my already reduced visibility to nearly nothing.
It was then, beyond all belief, the windshield wiper flew off.
I watched the last vestiges of my visibility seemed to fade to nothing. The car slowed to a crawl so that I might make sense of the blurred images before me.
“God, if this is a test, please let me know when I can turn it in, cause I think I’m about at the end of my ability to cope.”
Slowly as I inched along, as if on cue, around the next turn, the clouds broke, the rain subsided, and the fog disappeared.
“Thanks be to God,” I breathed a deep sigh of relief.
With time, God gives us the ability to understand more than we have before. With time, we learn from whence we came, and to that extent, we become more of whom we for which we were created. “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” -Jeremiah 33:3
There came into my life a renewed expectance. Like one receiving a gift, there is the anticipation of what lies ahead. So it was when we found an optometrist that performed not only cataract surgery but repair of eye lenses, I knew God’s hand was at work. Not only was my physical vision repaired, but now, Thanks be to God, it is corrected for life. What was even more miraculous was that the blessings of help came from friends and a new medical policy which now covered the procedure. All of this would not have been possible if the door had not closed and the other one opened.
“I was once blind, but now I see,” are words that I cannot take lightly anymore.
Dying to one’s former self is more than just the occupation, as I had thought. Yes, I realized that one would also die to those former earthly desires of the flesh, but what I hadn’t understood was that it was an awakening of perception of life as a whole. In the past, my five and ten-year goals were based around climbing the corporate ladder, finding myself in a greater place of wealth, and striving to obtain earthly possessions. Once my vision changed, so did my perception of my purpose in life as a whole. The slamming door made me realize that He had blessed me with knowledge for a reason. While I was to serve Him in all that I do, it was also using all that I am. In other words, part of my former self was still necessary in order to go forward with my journey at hand.
My learning continues as I now stand before those who are doing likewise. As I strive to be better in my new-found career, I also continue in parallel my study of His Word. My goals are nothing more than to make myself better equipped to serve Him in this journey and to see the world as He would have me to do so.
My vision is clearer more than ever before. With new eyes I see.
Like the blind beggar, we only have to ask in order to receive, “So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be brought to Him. And when he had come near, He asked him, 41 saying, “What do you want Me to do for you?”
He said, “Lord, that I may receive my sight.”
42 Then Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.” 43 And immediately he received his sight, and followed Him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.” – Luke 18:40-42
My vision of the future now has only one goal; to seek Him and receive the gift of eternal life. He gave His only Son to us, so that we may have eternal life. How much greater motivation do we need than that? “…the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
In all that we do, let us strive to be all that we can for His will.
“For I once was blind, but now I see.”
Thanks be to God!
You can learn more about God’s plan for my journey at Mission to Ride.