I wrestled when I was younger. It is still one of my favorite sports. I wrestled a future Olympic champion a number of times. That is my only notable achievement as a wrestler. I didn’t keep track, but I’m guessing I lost more matches than I won. I remember looking up at the scoreboard and seeing a bunch of blurry numbers. My coach was a good man. He knew my uncorrected vision was lousy. He would yell how much time was left and what the score was.
I had poor vision my entire life. Fumbling and breaking and losing glasses. Waking up and not being able to see the clock. Having my glasses fog over when I got out of a car on a humid day. That all changed in 2007. I had a surgery that corrected my vision. A friend of mine did the surgery. He gave me some pills to relax during the short surgery and to sleep after the surgery. I woke up. I reached for my glasses. A thirty-year habit doesn’t end overnight. I looked up and I could vividly see the numbers on the clock.
I remember swimming in the little pool across the street from my house on Memorial Day Weekend the next year. Benjamin would have just turned seven. We put our goggles on and I started chasing him. It was at that moment I realized something. I have never looked underwater with 20 / 20 vision before. I guess I just always thought vision under water was bad for everybody. I could see a whole new world.
Jesus restored people’s vision during his public ministry. He touched some people’s eyes. He told others to go jump into a pool. Others simply sat at his feet. I don’t know how blind they were—but I know once the Great Ophthalmologist told them to open their eyes—their world was never the same again.
When Jesus healed, he always pointed people to a deeper faith and a closer relationship with him. Vision, walking, hearing, breathing—these things were important to Jesus. But he used the healings as illustrations to increase something more important: faith.
Helen Keller was blind. She was an advocate and prolific writer. She wrote:
It is a terrible thing to have sight but no vision.
As a person without sight, she had a vision of accessibility and equality for handicapped people. She understood vision was more important than sight.
This January at The Water’s Edge, we are going to be looking at developing a vision for our individual lives and our collective lives together. In worship and in our life groups we are going to be seeking clarified vision for this new year. January is a month for us to be intentional about dreaming, focusing, and prioritizing. I look forward to spending Sundays with you this January at The Water’s Edge.