I recently got contacts for the first time. Don’t worry, I’ve been wearing glasses for over 25 years and decided now is the time to try something new. Truth be told, I didn’t wear my glasses very much when I first got them in the mid 90’s. It was only to be able to see in class or at the movies. I was always able to successfully pass vision tests for license renewals and I could get away with only wearing them every once in awhile. But I distinctly remember the first time wearing them and feeling like it was incredibly disorienting. What was previously out of focus was now oddly clear…but I wasn’t used to it, so it actually felt off or incorrect. Hence why I didn’t wear them very often.
Then, when I moved to TX I tried taking my vision test when I was getting my drivers license changed…and about half way through she stopped me and asked, “do you have glasses?” In which I responded, “why?” And she said, “because you haven’t gotten any of them correct.”
I had no idea my vision was that bad…it was a slow and steady decline and I wasn’t wearing my glasses because I didn’t always love what I saw or how I saw it.
I hate to say it, but a similar thing has happened with the contacts. When I first put them in it was incredibly disorienting. Certain things were oddly clear…but reading became more difficult. When I asked my doctor’s office about that, they said, that with glasses you can miss that your near sightedness is going. But contacts make you aware of where your eyes are struggling.
Now, I’m not an eye doctor…so that may not be 100% medically accurate…but that has certainly been my experience.
Both when I got glasses and contacts, I suddenly saw things that I couldn’t see before and I realized weaknesses that I didn’t know were there.
I couldn’t help but notice that the same is true in our faith.
When we turn to follow after Jesus, it’s like suddenly we see the world in a whole new way.
Things at first may be incredibly disorienting and as we continue to follow after him, we start to notice new weaknesses, new areas that may be struggling that we didn’t notice before.
But that is all because we can now see more clearly.
The tendency is to go back to our vision before, to have things be a bit fuzzy, or dim…not because it was better, but because it was known.
Paul was a man that before he followed after Jesus, he was violent and cruel and saw the world in one specific way. Then one day he had this transforming encounter where he was temporarily blinded and then something like scales fell off his eyes. He suddenly saw the world in a whole new way. I have to imagine it was wildly disorienting.
Years later, Paul is writing to a group of people trying to follow after Jesus in Corinth and he tells them that when he was a child, he spoke, thought, and reasoned in childlike ways. But when he grew up, he left his childish ways behind. We now can only see a dim and blurry picture of things, as when we stare into polished metal and everything we know is only part of the big picture. But one day, when Jesus arrives, we will see clearly, face-to-face. In that day, we will fully know just as we have been wholly known by God.*
This week, let our vision come into focus as we follow after Jesus. Let us grow in our faith, knowledge, and passion. Let us not give up when things seem disorienting, but know that we are seeing more fully, more clearly, and help us to live in the way that leads to life everlasting.