Lord, be thou my (cataract-free) vision

The surgeon waved my comments aside. “Your eyes are perfect. You could legally fly a plane.”

“No, sir,” I responded. “I couldn’t.”

I had tried to explain, during that post-op appointment following my cataract surgeries (both peepers, two weeks apart), that I was NOT happy with my new eyes.

I’d been seriously near-sighted since childhood. If I held them close, I could see tiny items bare-eyed with startling clarity. Over the years, the distance I could see clearly without glasses had narrowed to inches from my face, but I could still read without glasses while resting on my side in bed. I couldn’t now, and told the surgeon I missed that most of all. “Most people,” he snorted, “have more exciting things to do in bed.”

Without the strong lenses I’d always worn, I’d never have seen stars. A train creeping across the distant prairie. A mountain goat half-way up a cliff, an owl high in a maple. My cataract surgery provided an unrequested miracle. With a few flicks of his knife, the surgeon had rendered me far-sighted. Now I could see all those things without glasses.

But the shock, I told him, messed with my brain. I wanted my old eyes back. To read in bed without fumbling for my specs. To hold a feather mere inches from my eyes and see its miraculous barbs. To thread a needle (somewhere near my nose). No one had warned me I’d lose that. “You don’t understand,” I’d told the ophthalmologist, jabbing at my eyes. “I’ve cried over these!” He repeated that all would be well.

“I guess we assume,” my optometrist explained later, “that most people want to see at a distance without using glasses.” But I use my eyes primarily for close work. Given a choice, I may have asked to stick with my own status quo. (The sickness we know, they say, is preferable to the healing we don’t.)

I’m a complainer and an ungrateful wretch, I realize now. Since my surgery, I’ve grown used to my new, reversed vision. My new (admittedly somewhat crazy-looking) glasses work well, both near and far, thanks to innovative technology. I’m now grateful.

“Where there is no vision,” the Bible says, “people perish.” Reflecting on the year 2020, and my recent cataract adventure, I chose “vision” as my word of the year—spiritual vision, more vital to survival than physical vision.

We see God clearly using the lens of his Word. We view others correctly through the light of his love. We perceive what can be achieved in, around and through us through prayer, Holy Spirit guidance and experience. Through relationship with Jesus Christ, we comprehend that God is good, that ultimately, goodness will prevail. By trusting him, we remember that for those who love God (no matter how dark things feel), all things work together for good purposes. That nothing is ever wasted; no experience, no mistake, no weariness or loneliness or tragedy.

Accurate spiritual vision comes only when God removes our spiritual cataracts. We all have them. My prayer for 2020? “Be thou my vision, of Lord of my heart…”

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