I recently decided to explore having my aging eyes corrected so that I would no longer need to wear reading glasses. I was not only inconvenienced by the readers but more importantly was getting some mild headaches and feeling tired from having to constantly adjust from readers to no readers etc.…my brain was overworking…. and who wants to overwork your brain?
I will spare you the details, but the bottom line is that I was not a candidate for the common technique known as LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis), where a laser reshapes the inner cornea of your eye. Therefore, another option afforded me, one I had never heard of, called lens replacement surgery. The procedure replaces your actual God-made lens with a man-made lens. I opted for that…. I have the video to prove it. The actual procedure took about thirty minutes and both eyes were done back to back. The procedure is done as an outpatient, is painless and recovery is almost immediate, with the exception of some strict follow up procedures that require a variety of drops etc. I must say, the whole experience was nothing short of amazing and surreal…. no more readers and no more headaches, though my eyes are still adjusting to new lenses (which could take upwards of a year), meaning my brain is relearning how to see.
Why do I share this? Because I learned a lot about vision and the way your eyes and brain function. I could not help but translate that to my life, my walk with God and how I live my life as a Jesus follower.
Close Up, Mid-Range, Long Distance
Our eyes are absolutely amazing. I learned more then I would ever know and certainly more then you need to read about here. However, one very interesting insight for me was how my eyes tend to constantly focus between the close up, the mid-range and the long distance, often all within a fraction of a second. For example, if you are sitting on the beach reading (close up), but then look up to speak with a friend who is sitting three or feet away (mid-range) and then your attention is drawn to a beautiful sunset on the horizon (long distance), your eyes and brain are working seamlessly together, translating all of that information in order to create an experience for you that makes sense. The ability of your eye and its many components to work in tandem with your brain and interpret all of that data so that it makes sense to you and is done seamlessly and efficiently is absolutely unbelievable. That’s how God rolls. He’s a master creator. Therefore, if God does this with my eyes and brain, how much more does He do this with my life, my purpose, my meaning? He says to us in Matthew 6:33, seek Him first and His righteousness (meaning the way God does things) and everything else falls into place (read it for yourself…start with the beginning of that chapter). I thought about my day and how this translates into how I manage my life. I know that everyday I must focus on what I must get done today, simultaneously I am thinking about the next few days and weeks all the while finding myself thinking about the next few months or even years. A relationship with a spouse, parent, colleague or friend will regularly engage all three.
I must acknowledge that this experience was such an interesting illustration of living life as a Christ follower. I recognized that living as someone who desires to follow Jesus, I must realize that my Christian life must operate in the here and now, the near future and the long term. I have found myself sometimes so focused on the future that I fail at the here and now. I have also found myself so focused on the here and now that I fail at the future. For example, I know that when I die I will go to Heaven because I have accepted Christ into my life; however, sometimes you can’t recognize Christ in my life in the here and now because I am so anxious or angry about something that you don’t see Jesus. Think about it, seriously. I meet people, who, on the other hand are so focused on the here and now that they fail to understand where they are going. Life becomes meaningless.
Lighting, Length, Lubrication
Additionally, the eye doctor told me that there are three things that will affect my sight. First was lighting. He said that the brighter and the more natural the light the better. Second was length. Certain activities, such as reading required that I place the book, computer, e-reader etc. about 12-18 inches away from my eyes for an optimal experience, though my ability to read distance would remain fine. Third and last was lubrication. The doctor said that the artificial lenses would require some additional drops (tears) since they may experience dryness (Note: I therefore carry some artificial teardrops with me, and it comes in really handy when you need to show some emotion and sensitivity. I now have them in a bottle. It’s awesome).
Lastly, I could not help to think that it’s not just the range of vision in my life but those three influencers the doctor referenced that affect my life as a Christian. The “lighting” is God’s truth in my life. Jesus is referred to as Light. His word is a Lamp. The more Jesus I have the clearer things are. The “length” is the intentionality of how I live my life as a Christian. I ask myself what is it that I am focusing on right now and is it the right thing? I often find myself focusing on things that do not honor God such as un-forgiveness, selfishness, pride, etc. Do you remember when Satan tempted Jesus in the desert? He tempted Jesus with lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and pride of life. Oh my, these still exist every day for me. However, God says to us that no temptation is uncommon to us, but He does promise to be faithful and just and provide us a way to escape them. Finally, the “lubrication” is the constant drip of His Word in my life, my prayer time, the power of the Holy Spirit in my life, my engagement with fellow Christians, my engagement in serving others and other various Christian disciplines. I am incapable of doing life without the constant presence of Jesus. I often find myself spiritually dry if I don’t engage Him. Spiritual dryness manifests itself in many ways, including hopelessness, discouragement, rationalizing sin, anger, lack of peace, anxiety, etc.
Therefore, I ask you: what are you looking at today? Do you see it clearly, the way God sees it, or cloudy, the way you see it? When you look at your marriage, your friend, your children, your dreams, your disappointments, your enemies and yourself, what do you see? Remember, in plain sight is your Lord Jesus, who has the capacity to help you see all that you need to see and promises to never leave you nor forsake you. Did I mention that my new lenses are permanent? I will never need glasses ever! I will never get cataracts (aging eyes) ever. Christ in me is permanent, my perspectives on everything change forever and clarity is mine to be had through Christ.
Stephan N. Tchividjian is the president and founder of the National Christian Foundation South Florida. Visit southflorida.ncfgiving.com to learn more.