Can you see it another way?

Jesus and his followers came to Bethsaida. There some people brought a blind man to Jesus and begged him to touch the man. So Jesus took the blind man’s hand and led him out of the village.

Then he spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on the man and asked, “Can you see now?” The man looked up and said, “Yes, I see people, but they look like trees walking around.”

Again Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then the man opened his eyes wide and they were healed, and he was able to see everything clearly. 

Mark 8:22-25, NCV

How could you not see this coming?

He dropped the phone and grasped the closest piece of furniture to keep his balance. His heart seized with pain, and tears filled his eyes. His wife walked into the room and ran to his side. As a nurse, she knew exactly what to do. But to her surprise, it wasn’t cardiac arrest. It was the response to a phone call that their son had just tried to commit suicide.

Every Sunday, he wore an orange vest and guided us through the busy church parking lot. We knew him for his mesmerizing sky-blue eyes and his friendly demeanor. It was amazing to see him smile after all he had experienced. He died and was revived three times. He still walked with a limp, and he was losing more of his balance each day. The blip on the local news station about a pedestrian struck by a car didn’t spark a response until the reporter said the man lost his balance and rolled into speeding traffic.

For the past twenty years, they were happily remarried post-divorce. Their newly formed family couldn’t be happier. They built their dream home specifically designed for retirement–a beautiful yard, an inviting garden, views of the mountain, and of course, wide doors and grab bars for wheel chair accessibility. Neither of them were in a wheelchair; that’s how well they planned to spend the rest of their lives together. When the doctor diagnosed sleep apnea, it wasn’t too much cause for concern. When the doctor suggested it would be a good idea to reset his heart, this planted a seed of doubt. But all was well for several weeks until she found him lying on the bathroom floor.

After getting mixed up with the wrong crowd, she had a mountain of negative consequences to face–prison time, irreversible credit damage, no money, no place to live, no insurance, no job… hope. Things turned around when people chose to forgive and to help instead of judge and ignore. She started two successful small businesses that demanded time and physical stamina. When she found out a blister on one foot and a cut from a piece of glass on the other foot caused an infection, she made the choice to press on and press forward. Today, she is preparing for the next surgery of many to remove more of her left foot as she strives to adapt to the loss of half of her right leg.

With an empty can beside her, she pops open another can of soda. One more shot of caffeine and a few cookies should sustain her through the Bible study she’s teaching to help someone who is sick. She already spent the morning sending cards to shut-ins, and she met with two people who recently joined the church and couldn’t attend the new member class. Her responsibilities are growing, and she loves it! After losing her husband to illness and losing her house to a tragic fire, she has found her purpose, and she’s living out her dream. Nothing can stop her–not diabetes, not rest, not the warnings from friends and family. She commonly opens the car window on a cold day or slaps her face when she’s feeling drowsy, and this keeps her awake to fulfill her life mission. Last week, it wasn’t a blast of cold air or a cheek slap that woke her up—it was a head-on collision with a car when she drifted into oncoming traffic.

Though she remained quiet for most of the discussion, she put her hands up and asked the group if she could share something that’s been bothering her. She relayed a story about a heated argument that happened over a year ago. It was with a person she truly loved, and that’s why it hurt so badly. But when she started talking about the repeated arguments, and the cameras in the house, and the constant berating, the tone became more serious. But he sent me roses at work last month. And he just got me this beautiful ring last week. He’s not a bad guy……

Can you see the trees walking around?

Sometimes we don’t even know we’re blind. God will open our eyes the first time, and our vision is blurry, but we start to see. At that point, we have a choice. Do we want to see clearly, or are we content with using our own power to make our own decisions to see things our way?

It’s easy, as a bystander, to judge the responses and actions of others. It’s a much bigger challenge to step back from our own lives and reflect on the choices we’ve made, the choices we are making, and the choices we need to make in the future. We cannot do this in our own power. Will you let Jesus touch your eyes? Do you want to see clearly?

©, December 22, 2018

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