When I was growing up, it always seemed to me around our house, nearly every physical problem that arose always seemed to be taken on with the statement, “Well, we just need to go get your eyes checked.” It really did not matter what the situation was, the bottom line diagnosis across the board was an eye exam was needed.“ But mom, the car rolled over my foot!!!” or “But he fell out of a tree!!!”
The answer was the same. “Well, we just need to go get your eyes checked.”
Please understand what I heard my parents say as a kid and what they actually said were two different things, however it seemed to me as if an eye exam was always the “thing to do”.
Growing up, I always fought getting my eyes checked because I just knew if I had ever gone to the eye doctor, I was sure to leave his office with a pair of six-inch-thick lenses. I would argue with my mother that an eye doctor was similar to an oil change station. “Mom, you can never go into an oil change place without them printing up a list of everything that was minutes away from breaking down on your car. They are there to sell hoses, clamps, and gaskets. An eye doctor is there to sell glasses. There in no one who ever just walked in and walked out with a cleared chart. They will find something wrong.“
I realize my argument was based on a faulty mindset and that I was a child. However, a child’s reasoning can stay with us as adult because children grow up to be adults. Just because a person grows in age, it does not mean that their understanding in certain areas will mature.
My understanding of an eye doctor’s motives and practice were as faulty and misinformed as most people’s understanding of God’s heart. Looking back now at the eye doctor conversations I had as a child, I see something extremely clear about our perspective of God. I think the thing that always rattled me the most about the eye doctor’s office would be the machines they had. The optometrist would have me look into the most bizarre machines, shine lights in my eyes, and then make a soft grunting sound as he wrote down little notes. I was always bothered about what he was seeing that I was unable to see.
Psalms thirteen plays out very much like a patient’s visit to the eye doctor’s office. King David had eye trouble. He was sitting in The Eye Doctor’s (God’s) office and He was asking God to help him with his vision.
“How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?”
David was struggling to resolve some issues in his life and he felt completely overwhelmed. Have you ever been there? Overwhelmed and struggling to see what is going on in your life? I love this passage from David because David expressed what we all feel, and he does so in such a personal and relatable way. The bible tells us David was a man after God’s own heart. This does not mean David was perfect in his responses to God’s hand of allowed events in his life, nor does it mean David made the best decisions in his life. David was a man after God’s own heart because David was after God’s heart. So here we find David with difficulty in seeing an event of life with clarity. Isn’t it funny how fast things that seemed clear at one time can get blurry?
He is bringing his frustrations to God and as he fills out the patient general information chart, he asks something very intriguing about God.
“Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death;”
He asks The Doctor to enlighten his eyes. The word “Enlighten” means to “illuminate”. The word Illuminate means to: 1) See clearly. 2) make free from prejudices.
David asks God to help him see something he was missing. David asks God to correct his vision. Like an ophthalmologist would use a Bio-Meter. In other words, David was asking God, “Help me look through your lenses until I am able to see the proper view of the circumstances that surround me.” Almost as if an optometrist would ask their patients as they try different settings on the Horopter that they are looking through, “Can you see better now? No? Alright, then how is this?” David was asking God to continue to adjust through the settings until the patient was able to see clearly.
“But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.”
Notice what setting corrects David’s vision. MEDITATE ON GOD’S MERCY IN YOUR LIFE. Meditating means to think about in great detail. Think for a minute about the Mercy God has extended to you in your life when He reached down into your life through the offering of His son Jesus. “The greatest problem we have is not our circumstance.
The greatest problem that we have is thinking that our circumstance somehow negates God’s purpose in our life.” Romans 8:28 tells me that God works ALL things for my good even if I cannot seem to see it at the time that I am going through it. The first setting toward identifying corrective vision is to meditate on God’s mercy. David then goes on to another setting.
MEDITATE ON GOD’S SALVATION.
I can just see David’s face after the “Salvation lens” clicks into place. His entire focus has now shifted from his troubles to entirely be able to focus on God. Notice his remarks as he leaves The Doctor’s office.
“I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.”
David’s song of woe completely changes into a song of joy!
David was now able to focus on the things in life that had become blurry to him. God’s love for him and God’s care for the circumstances of his life.This stigmatism of abandonment is what renders us the most ineffective in reaching other people.
We shift our focus of what God has done FOR us and choose to focus on what we have do TO us. This will always leave our vision of what God has done and can do blurry. If my personal vision is distorted, I will behave in a distorted manner. I will crash into things I could have avoided and will trip over things in my life’s path I should have avoided. I will find myself stepping in things I should have stepped over.
“And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?”
If you are going to truly make an impact in the Kingdom, be effective in reaching the lost, and living out the ministry of reconciliation you were given as God’s child, then your vision must be checked.
I think about these passages and all of the sudden I find wisdom in what seemed to be our family’s ultimate medical diagnosis in life. When you experience pain or discomfort in your life, you really do need to get your eyes checked. Your spiritual eyes.
Life hits hard. Circumstances are unfair and people you love and care about will hurt you from times to time. It is easy in ministry to focus on yourself, protecting the reputation of the collective group, and to circle the wagons against people who have a pattern of hurting you and themselves.
Destructive behavior is difficult to watch in those you have spent your heart on. I guess what I am saying is that in dealing with people, it is often easy to learn how to shut our eyes. I remember seeing a tattoo once that has stayed in my mind. Living is easy with your eyes closed. How do we combat the urge to look away when something hurts our hearts?
Several years ago I decided to I made an eye chart to help remind myself about God’s presence when I begin to lose focus. I placed it in an area where I was working at the time because the job site can be a place where a man’s focus can become “blurry in a hurry”. I made it for myself and hung it on the wall where I could see it often. It seems as if people just cannot seem to resist taking an eye test when they walk by one of these things because as people would come into my work area to interact with me, many of them would take the time to look over on the wall and then take the time to stop and self-test their vision on my homemade sign. They would get to a point and say, “I can’t read any further.” I would gently reply, “You need to keep moving closer to the source until you can read the message.” They would scoot closer and as soon as they got the message of the eye chart they would smile and without fail say, “Thanks, I really needed that today!” We all do, so I decided to put it here at the end of this post for you to take as well because things can get “blurry in a hurry”.
If we are going to express the indwelling Christ to those around us properly, we need to maintain “Corrected Vision.” I realize I am sounding like my mother here, but it does not matter what pain and circumstance are going wrong in your life. It does not matter about why the people in your life you have loved the deepest have turned against you. It does not matter the wounding your choices have brought into your soul. It matters not how broken life has left you in response to your best efforts to make a difference. “You need to get your eyes checked.”
Climbing with you,