I must have been nearsighted the day I was born.
I don’t know what happened. Maybe I saw something traumatic as a baby and my eyes have been messed up ever since. All I know is that I can’t recall a single elementary school picture where I wasn’t wearing glasses. I even have one of me wearing a pair of those black plastic nerdy glasses with a little piece of tape holding them together in the middle. (By the way, since I strive for accuracy in my writing, I looked up the official definition of “nerd.” According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a nerd is “an unstylish, unattractive, or socially inept person; especially one slavishly devoted to intellectual or academic pursuits.”)
Anyway, you get the idea.
Technically speaking, a nearsighted person is someone who is able to see near things more clearly than distant ones. In my case, without my glasses, things start getting fuzzy about an arm’s length from my eyes. Therefore, the only time you can find me not wearing glasses is when I’m sleeping or being forced by my son-in-law to watch a North Carolina basketball game. All other times I have to wear my glasses in order to make any sense of what is going on around me. My glasses are absolutely necessary to avoid all kinds of missteps, blunders, and errors.
Which leads up to the story behind this blog.
On a bright, sunny day a few weeks ago, I had removed my regular prescription glasses while driving and was wearing my prescription sunglasses. When I got to my destination at Menard’s outdoor lumberyard, I was focused on the material I was after and not focused on my glasses. I stepped out of my truck and in doing so, my regular glasses somehow were dragged off the front seat and fell on to the ground next to the truck. (In case you are wondering, I don’t hear much better than I see, and the sound of my lightweight glasses hitting the concrete was lost in all the noise of the lumberyard.)
When I was loaded and ready to leave, I walked around to the truck door and… you guessed it! My mind flashed back and I wished I still had those nerdy black, super cheap plastic glasses. But, no. The weight of the work boot had smashed the frames and popped the lenses out and all I had were pieces. Expensive pieces! And I was not a happy camper!
My ability to see clearly what was in front of me was beyond diminished. It was gone! And my carelessness was going to cost me.
So, I called the eye clinic and told them what happened and ordered another pair with the same prescription. The technician said it would be three weeks or so, to get the new pair and suggested I bring in the broken glasses and they would see if they could be repaired in the meantime. But I declined to explain that I could see no way to salvage them. They were beyond repair. I took the broken pieces and put them into the case and found an old scratched up pair I used for mowing the yard and such, and I resigned myself to three weeks of limited eyesight and the pain of having to buy another pair of glasses.
Whenever I would grumble about wearing my old glasses and the delay in getting the new ones, my wife would suggest I take the broken frame and lenses in to see what they could do, but by now, I was comfortable grumbling about it and secure in my own assessment of the situation. I knew there was no way they could fix those glasses.
So, finally, after nearly a month of fussing and complaining, the clinic called and said the new glasses were ready and I hurried down to get them. And they were awesome! Shiny and clean and with a brand new case to carry them in.
And as I stood up to leave, I pulled out the old case and was showing the broken pieces to the technician. She picked up the scratched and twisted frames and lenses, looked them over and said, “Hang on a minute.” I sat back down and fifteen minutes later, she returned with my old glasses reborn! Apparently, there was a special coating on the lenses that enabled them to buff out any scratches and all the frame needed was to be bent back into shape. She had reattached the lenses to the frames with some thin, fiber connectors which looked like fishing line. They were as good as new. And, she smiled and said, “No charge!”
And I left the eye-clinic with two pairs of virtually identical glasses. One new (and apparently unnecessary) replacement pair I had waited for four weeks to get and paid quite a bit of money for and one I waited 15 minutes for that cost me nothing.
And as I drove home, I heard the calmest, softest voice in my spirit that said…“Rick, physical nearsightedness may be irritating, but spiritual nearsightedness can be much worse. Never believe the truth about anything until you have first heard from Me.”
And then the Spirit reminded me of the conversation Jesus had with two spiritually “nearsighted” disciples on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24:13-35. These men had been discussing all that had happened in Jerusalem and they were confused, discouraged and anxious about the events surrounding Jesus’ death and resurrection. Without the benefit of clarity, they were unsure about what to think or believe or do, so much so, they failed to even recognize who was walking along with them. And the Bible says the Lord patiently “explained to them what was said in the Scriptures concerning Himself.” And after sharing a meal with them, verse 31 declares, “Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him.”
And as I drove home, humbled and yet grateful, my mind reflected on all the times I have made assumptions and decisions about my life, my circumstances and other people only to discover later that I had been very “short-sighted” in my judgment.
So… since we will soon cross the threshold of yet another year, why not ask God for spiritual “eyes to see and ears to hear” so that we will not make nearsighted mistakes in judgment or perception in the months ahead. And remember…only Jesus knows how to take the broken pieces of your life and make them whole and functional again. Don’t trust in yourself. Instead,
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
I pray your eyes will be opened in 2018 so you will always recognize the only One who has all wisdom, insight, and knowledge to help you clearly see the path ahead.
Rick Amerine is the senior pastor at Maple Grove Christian Church.