Where would some of us be without eyeglasses? I began wearing them regularly in my mid-20s. Since I’m near-sighted, my glasses are necessary for seeing more distant objects.
Unlike many people my age, I don’t need to extend my arms to read a newspaper or a book. But for things farther away, like a movie screen, road signs, or even recognizing people in a large room, my eyeglasses are indispensable.
Historians say vision aid devices date back to the Greeks and Romans. After all, didn’t Julius Caesar once tell Brutus, “I’m keeping an eye out for you”? (Didn’t work out too well.) But apparently the first real eyeglasses were invented in Northern Italy, near Pisa, around 1290. That might have been when the builder of the famous tower put on some glasses and realized, “Man, my tower’s leaning! Oh, well.”
Our pastor recently told a story about his father, who received his first pair of eyeglasses after immigrating to the United States. The dad didn’t know how bad his uncorrected sight until returning to Switzerland. For the first time, he could clearly see the spectacular vistas of the majestic Alps and the rolling hills that had been a part of his childhood.
Having poor sight physically isn’t the only visual limitation hampering some people. They also have a need for spiritual “eyeglasses,” for which there’s only one accurate prescription. As author, academician and one-time atheist C.S. Lewis wrote, "I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen — not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
Faith in Jesus Christ provided him with 20:20 eyesight into the spiritual realm. With that vision Lewis wrote such thoughtful classics as Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, The Problem of Pain, and the acclaimed Chronicles of Narnia fantasy series.
Just as we can’t simply choose to see more clearly with our physical eyes, but must use the “spectacles” prescribed for us, the Scriptures tell us the ability to perceive spiritual truth isn’t a matter of personal choice either. The apostle Paul wrote, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4).
Speaking of our spiritual enemy, Jesus said, "He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn – and I would heal them" (John 12:40).
So how can we acquire spiritual “vision-correctors”? We find an example in the story of the blind man who received sight from Jesus. As people marveled as this once-sightless man suddenly staring at everything around him with opened eyes, he admitted that although he didn’t fully understand what had happened, “…One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!" (John 9:25).
It’s the same for each of us. At one time, we were blinded to spiritual understanding. But when God through His Spirit opens our eyes, we can’t help but see. As Steve Brown of Key Life Network likes to say, “Once you’ve seen the truth, you can’t un-see the truth.”
What are the benefits of receiving the spiritual vision only God can provide? For starters, we begin to see Him for who He truly is: “I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2).
We find ourselves able to better comprehend what He has revealed in the Scriptures: “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law” (Psalm 199:18). Truth that once seemed so obscure becomes obvious.
And in the process, we discover we’ve also gained the ability to see things the way God sees them: As Jesus told His followers, “Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes and see that the fields are white for harvest” (John 4:35). We begin to perceive things – and people – around us from the Lord’s point of view.
A question I must ask myself daily is, how well are my spiritual eyeglasses working? Am I even bothering to use them?
Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include the newly re-published, “Business At Its Best,” “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. To read more of Bob Tamasy’s writings, you can visit his blog, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, or his website (now being completed), www.bobtamasy-readywriterink.com. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.