I’m blinking so much today, I feel like Richard Gere.
Now this verse comes from the New Testament conversion of Saul (Paul), and has nothing to do with LASIK. But when I had that intense, amazing procedure done this morning, I couldn’t help but think of this verse. For years I’ve labored with 20/400 vision (not an exaggeration, BTW) and used corrective lenses: contacts mostly, but sometimes glasses. Depanding on how things go, I may have something close to 20/20 vision for the first time in over 40 years (and yes, prayers are appreciated). But as I was laying there with my eyes pried open like Malcom McDowell in A Clockwork Orange, it got me thinking…
…spiritually, Paul (Saul) in the Bible was a “pharisee of pharisees” and that wasn’t a bad thing. He did an amazing job following the law of Moses and was actually zealous for the things of God. His “externals” were actually amazing… but he didn’t have a heart for Christ. He probably had great religious tutors and all sorts of external help to see the content of the scriptures. And yet… he missed the big “J” on the messiah chart. He was so blind to the revealed Christ that he was persecuting Christians. And so he’s struck blind in a divine encounter. Days later, after being miraculously healed, he can now both physically see and spiritually “see” the Truth for the first time in His life. His sight has been changed forever.
Now don’t get me wrong with this next parallel – all you glasses and contacts wearers aren’t in sin! – but it reminded me of our striving for the faith, our zeal for holiness… we can put on all sorts of “externals” (call them good works and worldly helps) as correctives for our behavior, our “vision” and walk in life… but we’re not truly made whole unless God does some “spiritual surgery” on us. Likewise, we can have all the external, worldly help in technically understanding the scriptures (books, commentaries, mentors, even our own brains) but apart from the Holy Spirit re-shaping our spiritual “eyes” we cannot and will not see the Truth contained within. The “eyes of our heart” need internal, spiritual correction. And it doesn’t end there…
Before the procedure, the doctor explained that if there was any regression or issues that their office provided additional corrections as needed – for life! – provided I kept up with my routine care and regular check-ups. This ALSO reminded me of our help and hope in Jesus… we don’t just get a one time spiritual surgery, we get a lifetime of ongoing correction (at no cost to us, but rather the grace of Christ and the gift of the Spirit). The call on my life is that I keep up with my routine care (my spiritual disciplines) and regular check-ups.
What regular check-ups do we have with God, you might ask? Well, prayer is a great place to start, and our prayer life is actually where we’ll focus Sunday when we look at the Tabernacle in Exodus and the Altar of Incense. Its deep symbolism ties in with prayer, which we’ll have several opportunities to focus on in the next month. Over in Children’s Church, our young ones will have a look at what happens when we fail to see the way God wants us to see and let sin take hold of us, in the story of the very first children, Cain and Abel. That’s a heavy story for our Children’s Ministry to convey so pray for them as they continue in Genesis this weekend.
Sidenote: The doctor also prayed with me before my surgery! Thanks to my brothers and sisters in Christ who recommended PCLI in Bellevue.
Also, don’t forget we have a Film and Theology event coming up right quick (not tomorrow but the following Friday) and on August 29, the plan is to linger after service for a joint meal with Life in Christ Ethiopian Church (who meets in our facility in the evening). Some fantastic and fun Ethiopian cuisine amidst the usual barbecue, and a great intermingling of fellowship! I’d say the future’s so bright… I gotta… (well, you get the idea).
- Pastor James