Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Optic Nerve

Last weekend I had a special eye appointment. I had my eyes dilated and a field vision test done to test for blind spots in my retina and optic nerve. Basically during the test you are put in an individualized mini-planetarium and told to stare straight ahead at a little golden light. You must keep your eyes fixed on that dot for 3 and a half minutes while little lights flash all around the dome. Each time you see a light, you need to click a button, telling a computer that you saw the light. I asked the eye tech why I had to stare straight ahead. She told me that everyone's eye has a natural blind spot in the same spot. When you stare straight at the light, the computer knows where that blind spot is, since it's always the same. But if you shift your gaze, your blind spot moves as well, and doesn't give an accurate reading. 

As I was thinking about the test later, Jesus reminded me of our spiritual eyes. They have a blind spot, too. When we fix our eyes on Jesus, our natural spiritual blind spot is to all of our troubles, snares, trials, and all the things that would cause us anxiety, fear, and worry. But when we shift our eye to these things, we literally put Jesus into our blind spot. It's kind of like when Peter got out of the boat. When his eyes were fixed on Jesus, he couldn't see the waves and winds around him, only Jesus. But as soon as he shifted his focus, he put Jesus in his blind spot and could no long see how much bigger God is than the storms around us.

Later in the week I went to an evening service at church. One of the guys in the church reminded us of the verse from 2 Chronicles 16:9: "For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him." Jesus does this, he told me, because his eyes have a natural "blind spot", too. When God has his eyes fixed on us, our sin is in his blind spot and he is able to see us as totally beautiful, worthy, holy, and fully loved.

Psalm 123:2
Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master,
As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress,
So our eyes look to the Lord our God,
Until He is gracious to us.

Hebrews 12:1-2
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

I can see clearly now...

I never realized how clearly I couldn't see until I could actually see clearly. 

Let me explain. I've worn hard contact lenses since I was a sophomore in high school. Tiny, little, rigid lenses no bigger than a dime which suctioned themselves to just the brown colored iris of my eye gave me the ability to see clearly. That is, at the beginning. Unlike soft contacts, you can wear hard contacts for significantly longer, some times years longer, which is what I did while I was on the mission field. I took meticulous care of my contacts. I "enzymed" them weekly and cleaned them religiously. I took painstaking care to make sure I never lost or dropped one. With no insurance coverage for new contacts or glasses, I just acted like most missionaries and just made do with what I had. I couldn't complain. I could see very well and my eyes never bothered me. 

Then I started my new job. And with that came duh-duh-duh-DAH insurance coverage for eyes!! Oh, happy day!! I went in yesterday and finally got my eyes checked. My prescription hadn't changed, but I knew I needed new contacts. The doctor recommended soft contacts. I was a bit hesitant. I've had hard contacts for almost two decades. I know how to take care of hard contacts. I can pop them in and out like a pro. I know how they are supposed to feel in my eye. I know the routine for how to religiously clean then. But I caved. Sure, why not. You're the doctor.

Man, it's like a whole  new world! I hadn't realized how gradually my old contacts were not serving my sight well. Slowly, without my permission or me noticing, they were no longer as strong as they used to be. WOAH! With these new soft contacts, I now have amazing clarity! And I no longer have to go through the meticulous and constant cleaning, polishing, and enzyming. I just throw these away every few weeks and get a new pair, keeping a constant and instant clarity to my world. 

Then, to my surprise and delight., I was told I am could have lasik surgery to completely correct my vision. No more contacts, no more glasses. I could wake up every day with this same type of clarity. WOAH. Mind blown. I could finally donate all MY glasses to our eye clinics in Costa Rica and Nicaragua...that would be ironic...

So what is the point in me telling you all this? I mean, who really wants to read someone's blog about their new contacts, anyway. Well here's the point:

When we live under the Law, before we know who God is or what he did for us by allowing Jesus to come and die for us, we see the world through hard lenses. They need to be meticulously cleaned and polished constantly. They're rigid and, though we get really, really used to them in our eye balls, they are still uncomfortable and can easily irritate our spiritual eyes.  When we accept Jesus into our hearts, he throws away those old, rigid lenses for softer, more flexible lenses. These lenses don't need the meticulous cleaning like our old lenses. We just repent and throw the past away, looking forward to constant clear vision while never holding on to the fogginess of our past. Then when we start actually living by the Spirit, we have no need for lenses at all! The Lord completely heals and changes the shape our spiritual eyes so they are in the same shape as his! And that, my friend, is complete freedom.