Have you ever lost sight of God? In the chaos of life, has your 20/20 spiritual vision degraded to 20/200? Here's an eye-opening experience I had that helped me see God more clearly.
When I was young, I was a terror on the basketball court. I was born with fast-twitch muscles, five older brothers, and a competitive gene that makes a badger seem tame. No one would outhustle me. Though short at 5'9", my high school basketball team was a perennial juggernaut (MUHS, 70's). I made up for my height deficit with scrappy play. This continued into adulthood.
Years later I was playing full-court "hoops" with friends at a local gym. I guarded Eddie, a stout, aggressive player. It was raw competition, as sweat poured, lungs surged, and muscles churned. As Eddie brought the ball down court, he spotted a teammate breaking through the lane and attempted to fire the basketball past me. Unfortunately, Eddie's aim was off, as he rifled the ball straight into my face, at top speed.
For the first and only time in my life, I saw "stars." They twinkled as I went down. I shook my head to clear the cobwebs, looked up, and realized my sight had a bigger problem. Then, I became scared. Really scared.
My drawing below depicts the image of what my right eye was seeing:
If my eye's field of vision resembled a circle, I had a ram's horn blacking out the vision in my right eye, from lower left to upper right. I could see on the left side and right side of the horn, but the center was 100% black and not improving.
My friend, Kelly (an incredible ballplayer), drove me to the ER, which examined me and sent me to a specialist the following day. The ophthalmologist invasively probed my eye, scolding me repeatedly as I squirmed in the chair – my chin strapped into his torture device. The diagnosis: I had bruised my retina; the prognosis: it would heal. Thankfully, my sight was fully restored within a week!
Back to the Doctor
Six months later, however, I noticed a steep deterioration in the acuity of my right eye. Apparently the basketball's impact had done permanent damage after all. I fearfully called the eye doctor for an appointment.
As I reclined on his medical table, the doctor carefully examined my eyes, reciting cryptic notes to his assistant. He said, "Right eye: -75. Left eye: +50." I was woozy with fear, and hearing those numbers frightened me more. What was happening? Was I losing sight in my right eye? The doctor looked at me and asked three critical questions:
- "Dan, when did you first notice your vision problem?" I answered: "It began about two weeks ago."
- "Ok. Did your symptoms come on gradually or suddenly?" Nervously, I replied: "Suddenly."
- "Ok." (He paused). "Dan ... is it possible ... that you've switched your contact lenses?"
Silence. I looked at him in a daze. Bewildered, I stepped to the mirror ... I extracted, swapped, and reinserted my contact lenses. Voila! I could see! I could see! I felt like the blind man in the Bible whom Jesus just healed. I felt the strangest combination of euphoria, relief, and stupidity – simultaneously! The confluence of these emotions was unforgettable (I'm smiling ear-to-ear as I type this). Never before had I paid a doctor so much money to diagnose me as an idiot!
As funny as that is in retrospect, I have a serious question for you. Is it possible – not that you've switched your contact lenses – but is it possible that you've switched your spiritual contact lenses, such that you can no longer see God clearly?
If you're honest, we both know the answer is often yes. It's too easy to make this mistake. I'm not going to call you an 'idiot,' for I'm far worse than you. But I've discovered that, every morning, the only way to get the correct lens into each eye is to look into the mirror of God's Word. The prayer of my heart reads like this:
"Oh Lord, I am afraid that if I rush into my day without You, I will discover I cannot see clearly. So, before this day gets out-of-hand, help me gaze at You in Your Word.¹ Help me see clearly, truly, accurately. Help me take the plank (the wrong contact lens) out of my own eye, that I may help a neighbor with the speck in his eye.² Help me see the things that are eternal, not merely temporary.³ Help me gaze upon the beauty of the unseen Christ.⁴ In His Name, Amen."
We can begin our days by cleaning our contact lenses in the saline of God's Word. He will help us put them in the proper eye. Perhaps begin here: Matthew 13:10-17.