I've been thinking about eyeglasses lately. The other day I was listening to Matthew on my iPod. (Don't you just hate those cutesy product names with a lowercase letter before an uppercase one?) At any rate, I was listening to Matthew, and came to the place in Matthew 20 where Jesus heals two blind men. And I began to wonder if they were totally blind, or if they just had such bad vision that we would call them "legally blind". There are lots of folks in the world who have some vision, but cannot see well enough to work. And this was in an age before there were eyeglasses, so even with a fair level of vision, they would still be called blind, I think.
Now, before you go thinking the wrong thing, I have no doubt that Jesus could heal someone who was totally blind. No doubt at all. In one healing, Jesus not only heals a man's eyes, but he heals his brain as well. Check it out. In Mark 8, Jesus "spits on the man's eyes and put his hands on him," then asks if he can see. (It's interesting that he had to ask, don't you think?) The man says, "I see people. They look like trees walking around." Then Jesus laid his hands on him again and he could see everything clearly. This seems to me to indicate that Jesus healed his eyes, but his brain at first could not interpret what his eyes were seeing. I don't know the name of the condition that causes this, but it's not all that uncommon.
Still, the fact that Jesus could heal someone who was totally blind doesn't mean it happened that way in every instance.
And that thought led me to be very, very thankful. You see, I'm one of those people who can't see well without some sort of corrective lenses. I believe the technical term is "four-eyes". If I was living in an earlier time, say, the Middle Ages, or the time of Christ, I would be very much restricted in what I could do, how I could work, how I could live.
I'm a recreational shooter, and I'm not bad, really. (Not all that good, either, but you get the idea.) Without eyeglasses, I wouldn't be just bad, I'd be dangerous. Nobody would volunteer to go to the skeet field with me. In a more primitive era I wouldn't be one of the guys who shoots a bow well enough to stay out of the line of battle. I probably wouldn't be in the line of battle, either, as I might have a hard time telling friend from foe. I wouldn't be able to see the mountains in the distance, or the ship coming over the horizon, or the sheep that was starting to wander toward a cliff. Maybe, just maybe I could make my living in a profession that didn't require great vision, as a potter for instance. But more likely I'd be the guy who was told to go dig a ditch, or carry rocks, or shovel manure. There is nothing wrong or belittling in any of those professions. It's just that my choices would be limited, as would my appreciation of such things as a mountain vista or the shape of clouds in the sky.
Yes, I'm very, very grateful that I was born in a time and place with not only eyeglasses, but antibiotics, computers, universal education, motorcycles, and air conditioning. We are all very blessed. I've heard it said that we are in many ways richer than Solomon ever was, because he never had the opportunity to ride in an airplane, or eat ice cream, or listen to a symphony.
But consider this . . .
Solomon did live without all those things. As did David, and Job, and Elijah, and Moses, and Jesus. They seemed to do all right without them. We have some great things, to be sure, wondrous things. But in the final analysis they are just things. No amount of things can make your children grow wise, or your spouse love you, or your favorite dog live forever.
But God can. And God loved those blind men no less than he love you and me. He loves us all, yet the blessings he grants us are not all the same. We all have different measures of wealth, health, and happiness. So the essence of God's love, his richest, truest blessings cannot consist of those things.
Still . . . I'm happy for eyeglasses. And so are the folks who shoot with me.