Eye Troubles

Open my eyes to see wonderful things in your Word. – Psalm 119:18 TLB

I haven’t had a prescription change for my glasses for years, so when my vision became increasingly blurry, I thought that was the problem.

But no.

“I can change your prescription,” my eye doctor told me recently, “but that will improve your vision only 20 to 30 percent. The problem is cataracts.”

Oh, the joys of growing old.

While I knew I had cataracts for several years, they weren’t bad enough cause any problems besides a slight blurring of my vision, which my glasses corrected – to a point. But as the cataracts progressively worsened and blocked more and more light, they began to interfere with my everyday life. Simple things I took for granted became a struggle.

For example, I can’t recognize faces until the person is almost right in front of me. So if you see me and it appears that I’m ignoring you, I’m not. I just can’t recognize you or see the smile on your face.

Seeing words clearly on the computer monitor is another challenge. I’m a perfectionist, and the number of typos getting past these once eagle eyes irks me to no end. (Yes, I edit emails, text messages, Facebook posts, and other casual forms of written communication.)

I won’t drive at night these days, as the glare of oncoming headlights makes it even more difficult to see. Driving during the day isn’t much better, since I can’t read the road signs until I’m up upon them.

Reading the scoreboard at my grandson’s baseball games is just as frustrating. And you know how big those are.

But this will all change after surgery. I’ll be able to see clearly again! Hallelujah!

We can have spiritual cataracts. They, too, grow slowly, over time. At first we aren’t aware anything is clouding our spiritual vision, but eventually everything that was once clear becomes blurry.

What causes spiritual cataracts?

Many things – and they all block God’s light from entering your spirit.

First on the list is sin. Sin causes us to see things as we want to see them, not as God does. We lose our divine perspective. The cataract gets worse when we deny sin’s existence, continue to do what we know we shouldn’t, and when we justify our wrongdoing (wrong actions, wrong thoughts wrong attitudes).

Another cause of spiritual cataracts is doubt. Doubt, put simply, is not believing God, His Word, His promises, His goodness. When you doubt, God, you are saying, in effect, “I don’t trust You.”

Close to this is the cataract of cynicism. Life has slammed you once too many times, and you’ve lost the ability to see good in any person, situation, or experience. Bitterness builds up, and you erect a wall around your heart, refusing to let anyone in for fear of getting hurt again.

Lack of passion for God and His Word is another cause of spiritual cataracts. When I first became a believer, I was on fire for God. When I read His Word, understanding, excitement, and enthusiasm filled me. Joy overflowed. But as time went on and life happened, the fire sputtered.

Like with any fire, you can’t expect it to burn on its own. A fire needs fuel. And that fuel is taking the time for God – to talk to Him in prayer, to read His Word whether or not I understand it, to consciously be aware of His abiding presence in my life.

This leads to my final cause of spiritual cataracts: busyness. I must carve out time to sit down, read the Word, and talk to God. While it could be any time, I find morning, before I begin my day, is best. Because if I don’t, I get so caught up crossing things off my to-do list, the day is over and I haven’t taken time with God.

I keep a quote by Hudson Taylor on the front page of my prayer journal: “Do not have your concert first and tune your instruments afterward. Begin the day with God.”

The remedy for spiritual cataracts is the same as for physical ones: Removal. Confess sin, dispel doubt, squash cynicism, starve apathy, and boot out busyness.

Eye trouble? Here are some Scriptures to help you:

“Fix my eyes on Your ways” (Ps. 119:15 ESV).

“Open my eyes to see wonderful things in your Word” (Ps. 119:18 TLB).

“Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things” (Ps. 119:37 ESV).

Open the eyes of my heart, Lord. I want to see You. Amen.

Read and meditate on Psalm 119:10–40

© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Image in public domain.

When Life Happens

How do you know what is going to happen tomorrow? For the length of your lives is as uncertain as the morning fog—now you see it; soon it is gone. –James 4:14 TLB

 Life can turn on a dime.

A 39-year-old wife and mother is diagnosed with ALS – progressive, incurable. One minute she’s raising her kids, planning for the future, and the next all those hopes and dreams come crashing down around her. How to tell her three children?

A 97-year-old woman losing her eyesight waits in a personal care home, longing for the day God calls her home. But before that happens, she learns she has cancer.

A 57-year-old husband, father, and grandfather is sent home to hospice care, which barely lasts a week, leaving his family devastated and his young grandchildren dealing with a grief they cannot understand.

A 59-year-old doting grandmother faces months, even years, of recovery after a head-on collision, which the other driver caused. Not to mention the insurance hassles.

A young man, 24, his divorced mother’s only child, loses his fight with drug addiction.

Divorce. Unemployment. Suicide. The list goes on.

When these things happen, you realize you’d rather deal with the question marks of life than the certainty of the long, dark valley stretching ahead of you. The valley of progressive, incurable disease. The valley of waiting. The valley of grief. But you have no choice. It is what it is.

How do you cope with the certainty of life’s uncertainty?

By focusing on five things that are certain (besides death, taxes, and uncertainty):

God’s love: unlimited, unchanging, steadfast, and eternal (Psalm 36:5). It’s yours for the taking.

“For I am convinced,” wrote the apostle Paul, whose life was as uncertain as a ship tossed on stormy seas, “that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35, 37­–39).

God’s presence. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4). (See also Hebrews 13:5.)

God’s provision. “Look at the birds of the air,” says Jesus, “they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” (Matthew 6:26). He not only provides food, He also gives you rest (Psalm 23, Matthew 11:28), peace (John 14:27), and wisdom (James 1:5).

God’s sustaining grace. God didn’t remove Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7–10). Instead He told the apostle His grace was all he needed. God may not remove your burden, but He will give His grace to sustain you through the valley.

Your future. No, not your future on earth, but your home in heaven. “For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands” (2 Corinthians 5:1).

The mother-in-law of the woman diagnosed with ALS told her son to stress to the children not to allow fear of the future to rob them of joy with their mother today.

“In all these things,” writes the apostle Paul, “we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us” (Romans 8:37).

Yes, life can change in a heartbeat. But God – His steadfast love, unchanging grace, abiding presence, abundant provision ­–­ will never change.

Of that you can be certain.

What uncertainties are you facing?

Help me, O God, to keep my eyes fixed on You, not on the long, dark valley stretching before me. Remind me You will never leave me, never abandon me, never forsake me. That You are right here with me. Help me not to let fear rob me of joy, no matter what the circumstances. Amen.

Read and meditate on 2 Corinthians 4:7–5:5

© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Photo by Wilbur D. Huey. © 2016 Wilbur D. Huey. All rights reserved.