What’s new with my eye sight?
Nine months have passed since surgery repaired a torn retina, cleaned out debris left from a congenital cataract, and widened the shrunken pupil in my left eye. I’ve catalogued all kinds of things on Facebook that I’ve seen for the first time in my life till I’m certain friends are tired of hearing my new sight discoveries. I’ve wondered when life will settle down, I’ll get used to the visual improvement, and I won’t notice any new changes.
For right now, it hasn’t stopped! God has revealed Himself in so many ways. I have witnessed His handiwork over and over again.
Let me give you an update.
I’ve seen stars, brighter colors, the texture of dirt, the flutter of a hummingbird at a feeder, and a thousand geese streaming across the sky. I’ve seen wrinkles in the faces of older friends,my husband’s gray hair, and smudges on walls.
The best thing of all? Inclusion in church worship.
What has been most meaningful to me? Power point slides. Before my surgery, I would be able to see the words projected on the screen at the front of our church auditorium only if I sat in the first row, craning my neck upwards. Now I can sit seven rows back and read the words with ease. What does that mean for me? I can join in congregational singing again.
As churches have moved from hymnbooks to video screens over the last twenty years, the projected words silenced my voice. While I understood the need for such a change and I publically support the church’s desire to move forward in the use of technology, I felt left out.
I love to sing. I love to sing praises to my God. I love, love, love singing with other people, encouraged that we share the same confidence and hope we find in Christ. The option of worshipping God by listening to others sing satisfies only so long. Faking it feels dishonest. One of these years, someone is going to catch me singing, “Watermelon, watermelon.” Program planners and church secretaries got annoyed at me for asking for printed lyrics sheets.
Now I can sing with abandon because I can see the words. I can be part of worship again.
I can fulfill my role as a worship leader with greater ease. Before, I swallowed my embarrassment and held my lyrics cheat sheet three inches from my face, trying to convince myself I didn’t care how I looked to the crowd facing me. Now my lyrics page lays unseen by others on my music stand. I can see the faces in the front half of the auditorium. In fact, just this past month, I was able to recognize people sitting all the way in the back of the church. Sweet!
For the first time, I feel like I’m connecting with my audience and we are worshipping God together.
The most frustrating worship struggle is now gone!
As important as singing has been, the most meaningful return to worship has been Communion. You wouldn’t think someone could feel left out of Communion. Like, what struggle could there possibly be for a sight impaired person?
As my vision deteriorated due to the torn retina, it was harder to visually concentrate even on things within my range of vision. I couldn’t tell which Communion cups were empty and which were full of juice. I would stare at the tray, aware that I was slowing down the entire service by my tentativeness, but the images of the cups would waver and fade in and out. I was spending more mental effort figuring out which cup to pick up than on why I was taking Communion in the first place.
I finally swallowed my pride and asked several close friends to sit next to me so they could point to a full communion cup. This worked and people were very gracious. One widow lady discretely selected a cup for me and put it back in the tray when I was done. “I did that for my husband when he lost his sight before he died,” she whispered to me. After asking her only once, another friend intentionally sough me out so she could sit next to me. No one ever made a fuss about the matter.
Still, I was distracted and anxious. Would my friends remember my need from week to week? Would we spill the juice as we tried to transfer the cup? Oh God, don’t let any accidents happen. Help me trust You about silly things like spilling grape juice on my pants so I can think about what Your Son did for me.
Now I can see full cups even on the far side of the tray. I can relax and think about Jesus and His death on the cross. What freedom!
Within every answer to prayer, there are a cluster of little answers, a thousand miniscule ways God shows Himself to His chosen ones. We so often focus on the big need and forget the details. I’ve enjoyed so many new details since my eye surgery, I feel like I’m on visual overload.
You don’t have to have improved sight to catch God in the details.
My spiritual sight is improving too. I’m learning to see God in the details, to see the small stuff as gifts from His hand, to hear Him not only in the big booms of thunder but in the still small voice of His presence. I’m learning to praise Him in the small moments like the times He guides my tongue to say gracious words, provides a special price at the grocery store on hamburger, or connects me at just the right moment with people who need an encouraging word or who encourage me.
What have you seen God do? How have you seen His work in the world? How are you seeing the world differently than you did a year ago?
If you feel like God does things only for others and you aren’t seeing His work, here’s what you can do.
Ask God to improve your long range vision so you can see the details of all that He is doing.
Start each day by asking God to reveal Himself, His ways and His work to you.
Keep a log of those moments when you see Him at work.
Recount those moments at the end of your day.
See what God has done. Look close and catch the details.
What do you see God doing? Share with us!