I don’t see well — literally and, honestly, sometimes figuratively.
Each morning, one of the first things I do is open my eyes, one at a time, and insert a contact lens. Blink. Blink. Just like that — clearer vision.
And each morning, one of the first things I should do is open my Bible, one page at a time, and read the words written. (Because I’m nearsighted, I don’t even need corrective lenses for this, making it the FIRST thing I should do, once my feet hit the floor.) Just like that, in only a few verses, I always have clearer vision.
Because God’s Word is that — “… a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Ps. 119:105). And who doesn’t see better when there’s adequate light — even when the way seems dark?
Sadly, I fail too many mornings. Though I may see with my physical eyes, I leave my heart in the dark and walk into the day blinded — by worries, fears, a misaligned agenda. I forget to open my eyes that I might see wonderful truths in God’s law (Ps. 119:18). Truths like…
“Why should you worry…? … do not worry and be anxious…” (Matt. 6:28-34).
“Be anxious (fearful) for nothing…” (Phil. 4:6).
“The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives” (Ps. 37:23).
I’ve been thinking lately about how often I worry and fret as I follow my own plan for the day. Leave it to a dog to teach me.
Our puppy Prancer, who turned one in early September and was diagnosed with an often fatal fugal disease called blastomycosis a week later, is now visually impaired. We joke that it would be nice to hold up several fingers and ask her to bark to indicate how many, just to know how well she sees. So far, however, this hasn’t worked.
But even with her disability, Prancer seems completely happy. She’s memorized our yard and only takes issue when someone moves objects around — leaving a lawn chair in the grass, for example. Yet, even when she runs into something, she bounces right back — not allowing the mishap to deter her from her play. Not causing her to fear for the next time or question her steps. She never seems to be thinking, What if…?
She’s so well-adjusted to her new normal that we sometimes forget she struggles at all. But I was recently reminded of her blindness when I took her to the kennel to be boarded for a long weekend. The space was unfamiliar to her, and she seemed afraid at first — walking carefully, taking extra caution as she approached doors and various dog toys and equipment. A few times, I noticed that she stood completely still — sniffing the air and grass surrounding a foreign object, making sure her next step was safe. But within moments, she was playing with the other dogs.
Still, her impaired vision had been obvious to me and left me thinking about my own “blindness” at times.
Then, if that wasn’t enough, only hours after leaving her at the kennel, Bill and I were on a flight bound for New York City. Our seats were near the front of the plane, and in the row ahead of us on the opposite side of the aisle sat a young woman. I noticed her because she held her phone very close to her face and squinted as she tried to read words on the screen. Then I saw something move at her feet — tucked tightly, seemingly almost under the seat. It was a dog. He wore a vest that said “Service animal.” A seeing-eye dog, he was sleeping peacefully on the floor — ready to help if called upon but obviously fearless, even while soaring more than 30,000 feet above the ground.
I tried not to stare, but honestly, the whole thing moved me so. Here was a young woman, clearly visually impaired, who was traveling to the Big Apple without a human companion. The dog seemed fine, but — Wasn’t she afraid? I wondered, even commenting aloud, though in whispers, to Bill. “She’s so brave. Imagine!”
Then I heard the still, small Voice inside me. (I’m not deaf, after all; at least not yet.) In His goodness, God was reminding me — through my own dog who overcame her fear to enter into play with the other pups before I left her earlier and, in that moment, through a blind young woman and her faithful guide dog.
I have nothing to fear. Not really. Not with Him. Not with the light of His Word. I just need to open up my eyes each morning and see — read the words on the page and apply them to the hours ahead. To trust Him to guide me, to order my steps. To walk each day by faith, not by sight.
Yes — walking with blind faith, wearing the glasses of God’s Word…
Now that’s truly seeing.