Thursday, November 5, 2009

Blindness and the Unseen

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

It amazes me…and maybe it shouldn’t, but it does…how easily we lose track of this truth from 2 Corinthians, that “what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal,” and become focused on the “seen,” the physical. We get bogged down in the issues of our bodies and the world around us, as if that which we cannot see does not exist. In reality, so much more is going on in the realm of the unseen than we can possibly fathom, but we forget how to use anything but our eyes.

Mine aren’t always my friends. They have often been the source of trouble and great expense because I am severely myopic and my glasses always cost a fortune. I’ve been blessed to have parents who graciously help me with this, and, although I hate being a burden on them at this age, I am extremely thankful for their help.

I once had what I thought might be a little prophecy, a glimpse of a future in which I could no longer see well enough to read charts and sheet music. I thought that maybe God was telling me to learn to memorize and play more by ear and feel, so that I wouldn’t have to stop playing altogether when I became blind. In reality, I’ve had issues reading music for years, and, although I know some of that is rustiness from lack of practice, I know that if I’d heeded the warning and worked more on memorizing, I would have, in the process, achieved the proficiency I’ve always wished I had. Now I seldom play because I’m too busy studying. My eyes are constantly fixed on the “seen” pages of books, websites, and emails, and distracted by the condition of my house, my clothes, etc. These are the things that drag me down and take my eyes off of God and the unseen. Thankfully, He doesn’t need me to be watching to do His work.

I learned recently that I am a visual/tactile learner. Now I joke with myself that the tactile will be especially handy when I go blind and have to learn Braille. Seriously, though, I think another kind of blindness is more my issue—spiritual blindness. Often I am totally oblivious to it, but sometimes it’s as vivid to me as the blind spots that come with my visual migraines. With a visual migraine, no matter how hard you try to see through the blind spot, you can’t. It moves when my eyes move, so it’s always covering the spot I’m trying to see. Similarly, in those times when I have a sense of spiritual blindness, I cannot see through the blind spot, and in both cases I have no choice but to relax and stop trying, and trust that, in time, the spot will clear and I’ll be able to see again. Meanwhile, I take some Advil in the hopes of avoiding the headache that often follows the visual migraine and find something to do that doesn’t require detailed vision.

Unfortunately, Advil does nothing to relieve the pain that sometimes comes when spiritual blindness clears. But I think prayer does. And praise. And thankfulness. A good dose of scripture couldn’t hurt either, because it reminds me that God is good. Reading the Bible also reminds me about how He works, and that He’s always there, even when I cannot see. In fact, it was reading the verse at the top today that reminded me that even obedient Christians sometimes need help remembering that there is more to life than what we can physically see with our eyes…like love and relationships, and Jesus.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)

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