Let the weak say, “I am strong”
Let the poor say, “I am rich”
Let the blind say, “I can see”
It’s what the Lord has done in me.
The words from “What the Lord Done For Me” grab me every time my local group of believers sing it. At this point of the song, I can no longer sing. My throat becomes too constricted, too full of praise and gratitude for what God has done for me and in me.
I could have written those lyrics. While the writers of the song made popular by Hillsong probably meant the message to signify the spiritual transformation God offers each of us, for me they are literally true.
Several times in this blog, I’ve alluded to the fact that I have a vision problem. Some of you know at least part of my story. But I want to take today to tell the story in the context of what God has done in me. After all, we can never praise God too much for what He has done. Tweet this.
I was born with the presenting symptom of congenital cataracts. A genetic defect, originating, we think, from my grandfather being poisoned by mustard gas in World War One, left me with underdeveloped eyes. Doctors in the 1960’s were hesitant to do standard cataract surgery on a baby, so my doctor performed a series of surgeries that attempted to encourage the cataracts to destroy themselves and to get light on my optic nerve. This solved the main problem but caused others. My list of visual abnormalities has caused optometry technicians to run from the exam room wringing their hands. I’m not kidding.
It’s too simplistic to give you my visual acuity numbers which, for years was 20/200 in one eye on a good day. One of my eye issues is a rare syndrome called nystagmus. My eyes jitter back and forth, searching for a way to focus. I’m one of the thirty per cent of nystagmus patients who can actually see the jittering. I had one doctor tell me that was impossible because if I did see my world shake back and forth, I would be constantly nauseated and disoriented. Well . . . sometimes. Ask my family, closest friends and unsuspecting church members about my bouts with car sickness. Wonder why I take naps in the middle of the day. Catch me in a corner pressing my fingers to my forehead. I cope.
In spite of this, there are so many things that I should not have been able to do in my lifetime. That is what God has done in me.
- I attended public school in the days before special education was available.
- I have three college degrees, graduating near the top of my class.
- My husband and I have raised two girls who are now pursuing post-graduate work. Many nights I would pray that God would protect my girls in ways that I could not. A shattered coffee carafe that somehow missed all the piles of dirty laundry strewn across the kitchen floor proved one morning that God was holding up his end of the bargain.
- I do all the housework and meal prep any mom does and I live in a parsonage. If my kitchen countertops aren’t clean, no one except my husband, my mother, and a couple of paid house cleaners have had the courage to tell me. Our family had to make concessions about grocery store runs and school activities, but we made it through. We became extra close because anytime Mom needed to go somewhere, the entire family piled into the car. We did everything together.
- I’m a minister’s wife. I do most of the stuff ministers’ wives do – I’ve taught children’s classes, directed Vacation Bible School, led bible studies, played the piano, led worship music, hosted missionaries in my home. Sorry, they won’t let me drive the church van. Everyone has their limits, you know. I prefer not to work in the nursery and I don’t volunteer to help with VBS decorations. I could be dangerous with a pair of scissors. My aunt, also a minister’s wife, let me in on a little secret half way through – she didn’t do everything either, and she has normal sight.
- I’ve served short term mission trips in Canada and Austria, and travel by myself several times a year. Oh boy, do I have airport stories!
- I’ve had a fulfilling writing career for the last thirty years, writing many children’s curriculum guides and over 200 magazine articles. I’ve completed two unpublished novels.
All this from a woman who can’t even read a McDonald’s menu.
A social worker once described me as having the most usable vision of anyone she had ever met. That’s a genteel way of saying that I do things I’m not supposed to be able to do. She’s right. With my severe visual limits, I should not have been able to do all that I have done. Tweet this. Only God.
Using my blog as a brag sheet or as a pity party is the farthest thing from my mind. I’m convinced that all of this is what God has done in me. I know because I have seen God intervene many times in big ways and in every day interventions.
- Laws providing for special education were enacted the year I entered high school, the very year I began to seriously struggle with the academics.
- Home computers went on the market the year before I had to do my thesis. Knowing how I struggled with a manual typewriter through college, I don’t think I could do the writing I have without a personal computer.
- Headaches from straining to see my world through jittering eyeballs were part of my daily routine. By the time I reached my early forties, I found it more and more difficult to keep up with everyone else. At the right time, a local optometrist referred me to a surgeon who had developed a procedure that would decrease nystagmus. Even he didn’t know that the procedure would not only slow the jittering; it also tripled my visual acuity to 20/100. Don’t tell any civic authority that I celebrated my improved vision by driving a moped around a church parking lot.
- In the last two months, I’ve discovered the wondrous technology of IPAD’s. Once again, God’s timing is impeccable. Now I can lead music at my church without having to juggle five pages of large print song lyrics.
I’ve learned to pray over really little stuff – like protection from broken coffee carafes, guidance to find a public restroom, recognize faces in a crowded sanctuary Sunday morning, or for this one day, to see past the shakiness to catch displaced commas or periods in a rough draft. The knowledge that someday I will see my Savior in infinite detail, that I will see Him face to face physically, mentally and spiritually fills me with hope and encourages me to work through the hard moments. I can hardly wait. Maybe my Lord and I will roam over the hills of Heaven on matching mopeds.
The words of the song “What The Lord Has Done In Me” are still true on a spiritual level. My victory over my weak eyes is a living object lesson of what God can do in a life. The physical inability to see is only one form of blindness, for when our minds and spirits are closed to the truth, we are in a sense spiritually blind. Yet God can heal the blind. He has the power to change our minds and hearts. In spite of who we are, God can use us to accomplish things we never dreamed possible.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.” – Ephesians 3:20,21
I’m no one special. If God has done in me what couldn’t be done, He can do it for you. He can do it for those you love, those you see struggle through the nastiness of life.
The poor will become rich.
The weak will become strong.
The blind can see.
I will sing salvation songs. For Christ has set me free!