Revelations – When I Cannot See
Repost from Facebook Notes August 13, 2015
I have often noticed over these last few years, sometimes I am blind. Getting older, some days that’s a literal blindness, when the tiny words on the backs of bottles that I used to be able to read with ease no matter what weird color contrast they had are now a little blurry and it takes my eyes a while to focus. More often though, the blindness is of a different sort. It is more a failure to see. I do not like those moments of blindness. As I am quiet for the moment, and have a little time to reflect, I realize why they bother me so much more today than they used to. Today, it is a more sudden and felt loss, because most of the time I can see. When I was younger, before I gave up relying on my own ability to see the truth in the world, and started instead to seek God‘s direction, I realize now that I was always blind. The world was seen through foggy shades of gray, indistinct glimpses of something more, but never any actual picture of what it was I was seeking.
Somewhere in these last years, I have been deeply blessed. Just as I did not miss seeing clearly back when I was blind, I often do not notice exactly how blessed I have been now until I am once again blind for a time. God has granted me the gift of seeing His presence so often and so clearly most of the time, that much like the beauty of breathtaking mountains or the glory of a raging sea, we lose our appreciation of it when it sits there for our pleasure every day. I noted that phenomena as my daughter and I chatted on the walk down to the beach today. She mentioned that she doesn’t get to the ocean as much as she would like. Busy work schedules, small children, pregnancy, all these conspire to keep her from spending her days there on the ocean’s shore. As I sit here in the quiet comfort of a South Carolina night, I am reminded too that while I have been longing desperately for the oceans waves, in the middle of my running I have failed to notice the glorious mountain views I have each time I set my eyes outside my home. I haven’t been up to the mountains just to walk and take it in for far too long. Busy work schedules, older children, getting older, all conspire to keep me from spending days out on those beautiful green hills.
So it has been lately with God. It is not precisely that I do not see His hand moving, or feel His presence near. It is more that I had grown so accustomed to it, that I stopped taking note. I stopped letting myself just stop and know He was there. I stopped taking time for the wonder of Him to settle for a while in my heart. I forgot sometimes that because God is far bigger than the ocean or the mountains, it is easy to let my vision narrow and miss His movements around me. It’s easy when He is so vast, to shift perspective and forget that I am so small and the comfort I find in that simple truth. It is easy, when the things He lets me see are often such grand visions, to forget that there is value in the small, the simple, the path that takes us through the here and now on the way to where that vision lies. After a while, my vision in general gets clouded, blurry around the edges and the world starts sliding back into foggy shades of gray. My eyes strain to see His hand in the day to day. I start working at trying to see the picture I’m looking for instead of just letting Him show me the wonder He wants to share.
Suddenly, I wake up blind once again, not because I cannot see, but because I won’t. I could sit here tonight and rail against myself for such hubris and ignorance. I could kick myself for sliding back into old ways I know better than to let creep in. I could mourn the loss these last few months. I could… but I don’t think I will. Because there is another discovery there, and dwelling in those failures would really only further the loss of perspective that led me there. God has not stopped showing me His wonders, even when I cannot see them. God has not withdrawn His presence, even when I closed my eyes. Holy Spirit went right along moving, shaping and drawing me close, even as I stumbled along in the dark.
And that is the beautiful thing of gaining a restored perspective. I am small, prone to getting puffed up, blown out, and falling down. But God is bigger than the mountains and the oceans, more gracefilled than our minds can hold. And He has given me eyes to see Him, ears to hear Him, and a heart that longs for Him no matter where I may wander and how dim my vision sometimes grows. When I take my eyes off Him, He reaches out His hand to lift me up from the waves. When my heart wanders, He calls me gently back to Him. When I can no longer stand, no longer see, He lifts me and carries me until my legs grow strong again, and my sight is clear enough to run. What a blessing, what a comfort, what a joy to know He is always here guiding me on, even when I cannot see.
Pray always and glorify the Lord.