How’s your spiritual vision?
Since sometime around middle school, I’ve worn contacts and/or glasses every day of my life. Last month I picked up the new pair of glasses pictured here, and it got me thinking about vision — physical and otherwise.
Twelve or 13 years ago, I went to my yearly eye appointment in the middle of my Epic Faith Crisis. Since I was struggling to trust in Christ, I saw either God or the devil in everything – so when I heard AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” on the way to the clinic in Flowood, I quickly changed the station. (To be fair, I’d do the same today.)
Then in the middle of my eye exam, I heard U2’s cover of “Everlasting Love,” which Google tells me was originally a 1967 hit for Robert Knight:
“Open up your eyes, then you’ll realize
Here I stand with my everlasting love”
While that song played over the speakers, the doctor said, “Look straight at me,” as eye doctors do. They’ll point to their earlobe or something for you to focus on while they test your vision.
I heard God in the song and in the eye doctor’s words: Open up your eyes; My love is everlasting. Keep looking at Me. Don’t look away.
But at the time, I was so focused on not being wrong about the truth (what if some other religion out there was the real truth?!), I was afraid to surrender to the Truth that I knew was right.
I still fall into this trap today as a believer: I’m so afraid of doing something wrong or being tempted by the devil, I’ll spend more time “avoiding sin” than following Christ, which would actually help me avoid sin. “Walk in the Spirit, and you will not obey the lusts of the flesh.” – Galatians 5:16.
Or every once in a while, I’ll focus so much on “taking a stand” against a particular sin that I’ll forget to consider whether I’m still following Jesus in the meantime.
In other words, I take my eyes off the Great Physician and look too much on the things He’s healed me from. I get too knowledgeable about evil and forgetful of what is good (see Romans 16:19).
You’ve seen this in books, TV and movies. For instance, some characters are so traumatized by battle that the enemy is all they can see. I won’t give spoilers, but there’s a character in Amazon Prime’s “Rings of Power” who’s so focused on going out and finding the villain that they fail to see the darkness inside themselves, along with possible bad guys nearby.
The good news for us is that if we have put our trust in Christ, our spiritual vision does improve over time (unlike our physical eyes).
For instance, I recently found myself in a moral and theological quandary related to a possible MCL article. Even just a few years ago, this situation would’ve sucked me into an OCD vortex of “what ifs” and over-analysis. This time that didn’t happen, and I was able to make a clearheaded decision. Progress!
And the thing that helped? Turning my eyes back to my Savior, who has already defined my worth at the cross, and who will not take it back if I fail to do my job perfectly. His blood covers it all.
Yes, I still overthink, especially if it’s about something or someone important to me. I still catastrophize and dream up worst-case scenarios. But I’m no longer beholden to them. I can behold other things. Better things. Things that God sees.
This time of year and all year, I can look at the things for which I’m grateful, instead of focusing all my energy on light and momentary afflictions, which are working glory for me anyway (2 Corinthians 4:17).
If your spiritual vision hasn’t improved since you professed faith in Christ — or if it just hasn’t changed in a little while — talk to the Great Physician. We need him far more often than we need physical doctors. We need him every moment. And He is there, waiting for us to come to Him. He wants us near.
The only way to draw near to God is through Christ. If you haven’t handed yourself over to Him in trust, do so now. Your life won’t get any easier — in fact, it’ll probably get harder. But you’ll see it through an infinitely, eternally better lens.
Thankful that “nerd chic” is a thing now, unlike in my middle-school years!