by Lisa Harris
Thank you, Lord, for my eyes! There's nothing like the possibility of losing your eyesight to make you start considering the precious gift God has given to us. I've had issues with dry eye for quite some time now. It's treatable, thank goodness, with a good washing, lubrication, and taking lutein on a daily basis for eye and vision health. My issues are nothing compared to my mom's. She had dry socket macular degeneration. The doctor explained this disease is like having a ball of yarn in your eye. The core of the ball is wound very tightly, letting no light through, but the edges of the ball are very loosely wound, letting in bits and pieces of light. Mom could see a distortion of things on the peripheral—to the left and right, up and down—but she could see nothing straight ahead. As time progressed, the ball became more compacted and the ability to see became less and less. I watched her struggle with diminishing sight on a daily basis. Of course, I'm concerned my dry eye condition may develop into something more and I, too, may suffer the devastation of the inability to see.
As I pondered my mom’s life with diminishing sight, I began considering how and what I see in my world on a daily basis—the view out my bedroom window, the printed word on a page, the faces of my grandchildren. It came to me that eyesight—the ability to see, vision—is more than just being able to see out of my eyes. What's inside my heart and mind determines the view from my eyes, whether it's distorted and clouded or clear and bright. In Ephesians 1:18 NASB, Paul prays for the people, "...that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling...." What is in my heart influences—colors, gives perspective, helps me to understand—what I see through my eyes. Matthew tells us, "...for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" Matthew 6:21 ESV. If that is true, then how do I keep the eyes of my heart in good health? Can I wash, lubricate, and take a pill? Of course, not! If only it were that easy. We are bombarded with all sorts of stuff every day that blurs our heart’s vision: TV, radio, Face Book, books, Internet, gossip, busyness, unhealthy relationships. Then there are prejudices, impatience, self-centeredness, skepticism, unforgiveness, and bitterness. Whew! What a mess!
When I think about all the junk coming at me that I can't control, I'm drawn back to one of my favorite scriptures:
Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart] Philippians 4:8 AMP.
And there it is, the prescription for keeping the eyes of my heart in good health!
It's such an old thing. One of those tried and true, old-fashioned remedies that always works, like Grandma's poison ivy potion that nothing on the market today can beat. It took time and effort for her to hunt down the sumac root, cut it up, cook it down, and then mix up that salve. But in today's world I usually look first for a new thing, an easy fix, something that makes my life easier and I don't have to work so hard. The daily monitoring of what I see and hear is not an easy fix. It takes time and effort to bring my body and mind into subjection. Sometimes I'm just too lazy to turn the TV off or to switch the radio to another station. Sometimes I don't make time in my day to read God's Word. And I can't give you a good excuse for why I may not always acknowledge God in all my ways. Yes, I am human and not perfect, and He knows me better than I know myself.
I'm so grateful to God's Spirit for reminding me what is right and true, and always bringing me back around to what I must do so I can see clearly with the eyes of my heart. Knowing the right thing to do is only half the prescription. It is the doing—putting that knowledge into action—that makes the difference. And that's up to me!
What clouds your vision? What do you do to keep the eyes of your heart in good health?
Lisa Harris is the wife of one minister husband, mother to three married children and grandma to nine grandchildren. She and Jerry have been in the pastor and missionary business for over 30 years. They now oversee Reach Missouri Network for church planting and Lisa is enjoying her new vocation as a librarian.