Open my eyes, that I may see wonderful things in your law.
— Psalm 119:18 (NIV)
My new friend Sarah, a third generation optometrist working alongside her grandparents in the business they founded before she was born, recently shared the story of a visit with one of her patients.
The woman was in the office for an annual check-up and had her 10-month old son in tow. Dr. Sarah had time to give the baby an infant eye exam, and although mom had no concerns about his vision, she had time and agreed to the non-invasive procedure. Through the national program InfantSEE, many vision specialists offer free check-ups for babies age 6-12 months — many parents simply aren’t aware of the program.
Mom held her son in her lap while Dr. Sarah conducted a series of tests, checking peripheral vision, the ability of his eyes to track an object from side to side, looking into his eyes with the tools she uses on any eye exam. Everything checked out until she covered the baby’s right eye to examine each eye individually. At that moment, the until-then pleasant little boy began to scream, to his mother’s dismay.
It turns out his left eye is severely nearsighted — a +10 on the vision scale compared to a +2 in his right eye. When the doctor covered up his “good” right eye, all the baby could see was a wash of fuzzy, nondescript space in front of him. No wonder he was upset! Mom was shocked — and also relieved that the results of this “accidental” check-up came in time to avoid long-term damage to his vision. Over time, the brain can train itself to rely solely on the healthy eye, causing the weaker eye to become “lazy,” a condition in which one eye meanders to the side instead of both eyes moving in tandem. If the condition is not caught soon enough, the brain may be unable to retrain itself to dual vision — focusing on the single good eye (and missing out on full peripheral vision) even if glasses or other measures, like surgery, are applied.
This story has a happy ending: the little boy now sports a charming pair of baby glasses and receives vision therapy at home and at the office to retrain his weaker left eye to take in the world around him.
• • •
Dr. Sarah’s story made me wonder: Could my spiritual perspective — the lens through which I view my circumstances and God’s plan for my life — use a check-up as well?
Proverbs 3:21 says:
Preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight.
If my spiritual vision was hazy, how would I know it?
Might I be spiritually “nearsighted” in holding tightly to this moment, but not considering the long-term Kingdom impact of my words, actions and choices?
Is it possible I am living too spiritually “farsighted,” hoping and planning for eternity with Jesus, but not making the most of the opportunity this earthly life affords to do unto others right now?
The spiritual “vision chart” by which to check the health of our souls is the Bible, God’s Holy Word. Other tools for testing (and sharpening) this vital sense include time spent in prayer, and in fellowship with other believers at church, in a group Bible study, in youth group, or even gathered with a friend or two at your favorite coffee shop to focus on faith.
Developing “perfect” spiritual vision is a work in progress—and isn’t that the point?
When we wake in the morning to the rising sun, let us not be content merely to gaze at the sun’s glorious light. Let us shout with gratitude the praises of our Lord and Savior! Let us focus our thoughts and efforts on seeing God’s plan unfold in our minutes, hours, days, weeks, and lifetimes; and uplift those around us in prayer and encouragement to seek evidence of God’s fingerprints in their lives, too.
Let us continue to develop our focus on the light, on faith, and on God.
Healthy spiritual sight does not mean every circumstance will seem easy, fruitful, or joyous. What it means, I think, is that no matter what we face, we work to see the light in all things, and to focus on God’s grace—even if his love appears as a sliver of moonlight breaking through the clouds and not the sunshine we hoped for or expected.
Praise God for the sight, both physical and spiritual, he has blessed you with.