John 12:40 (ESV)
“He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them.” (See Isaiah 6:10)
I recently had one of those interesting life moments that served as an illustration of our spiritual condition. About five years ago my eye doctor informed me that I had the beginning of cataracts. The condition has been monitored each year and, this last April, I reached the point of no return; a new prescription would not help, and cataract surgery was inevitable. The first eye was done on July 20th, the second a week later, and I got a big portion of my life back. In one week, I went from 20/200 without glasses to 20/20 vision with a beautiful shift in colors, removing a yellow cast that had distorted things. Like Paul in Acts 9:18, the scales had come off!
Why do I share this? As I have reflected on this event, I see many parallels to sin in our lives. With my eyes, the cataracts produced a slow degradation of my vision leading to a series of life adjustments, such as not driving at night. In reality, I did not see what I was missing, as the shift was very gradual as I slowly lost sight of things. Sin is like too. It often starts small, and we adjust to it, dropping our defenses, lowering the moral bar just a little, and justifying what we do. This continues until we reach a point where we must face the facts: Sin, like a cataract, has blinded us!
With my eyes, this definitive moment of revelation involved the objective standard of an eye chart and some numbers that scared me: my right eye was 20/40, barely legal to drive, my left was 20/60, and that was with my glasses on! This moment would not have happened without two people willing to hold up that standard who cared enough to push me to change, and who were willing help me: my wife Jola and my doctor. Sin is like this as well. We sometimes need people to hold up the objective standard of God’s Word because they care and are then willing to walk with us through necessary changes.
The other reflection came in the week between the two surgeries. As looked around my world with one eye at 20/20 and the other at 20/60, I would switch back and forth and marvel at what I had been missing: a bird in flight, a spider web in the sun, the variation and vibrancy of colors, a satellite moving across the night sky. When sin is identified and addressed in our lives, there is that same feeling of revelation followed by freedom. We start to see things differently, clearly, and honestly in the light of the Love of Christ.
I am now two months post-surgery and I still marvel at the change. As I sit at my desk typing this, without glasses, I look out over the yard to see the dappled sunlight in the trees and marvel at the beauty of God’s creation. When I drive, even at night, there is a heightened sense of awareness and I wonder how many times the Lord had to step in to protect me from myself. This has created a deep thankfulness: for my wife, my doctor, and the God who created the smart people that made it all possible. I am also thankful we serve a God who forgives. All we need to do is ask.
We all have spiritual blind spots and sometimes we need help to see what we can’t see. If you are struggling with some spiritual blindness in your life, please get some help. And, as a pastor or leader, you may be called on to be the one who holds up the standard of God’s truth. May God give you wisdom, grace, and strength. If the NCD staff can be of assistance, please give us a call.
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