Have you ever wished you were blind? Probably not. Sight is such an important sense to most of us. We look forward to seeing our kids and grand-kids grow up, the spring flowers bloom, the sunrise or sunset…but Jesus tells us (in yesterday’s Gospel) that it would be better for some of us if we did not see. In the reading he heals a young man born blind, and yet the Pharisees still deny that He is the Christ. “Jesus said, ‘for judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.’ Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, ‘What? Are we blind too?’ Jesus said, ‘If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.’ (John 9:39-41) I think what Jesus is telling those of us today who can see is to have unconditional faith. You’ve heard of unconditional love…some of us even make an effort to practice it (not perfectly by any means) trying to love even those who hurt us. But unconditional faith…that’s another matter. Sure, we say we believe in a God we cannot see. But do we really believe He will work all things out for our good? Do we really have unwavering faith in His plan for our lives, especially when prayers go unanswered, our dreams aren’t fulfilled, things don’t go according to our plans? That’s the kind of faith we are supposed to have. And yet like the Pharisees or Jews following Moses in the desert, we refuse to believe or we complain and get frustrated.
I was reminded of this late this past Saturday night when my car got a flat tire as I came out from a long day at the Maryland Writers Association Conference in Annapolis. I was blessed to be invited to be a presenter and the day had gone well but had started at 6 am and it was after 7:30 pm and time to drive an hour and a half for home. I came out to find my right front tire completely flat. I was annoyed with my husband because he hadn’t renewed our Triple A membership yet, and of course he wasn’t there to help me change the tire. (I know, not his fault, I should have renewed myself and should learn how to change a tire!) I ended up driving over a mile, at about 10 mph, to a gas station, other drivers angrily honking their horns at me as I prayed my car would make it without being completely damaged. I started thinking, ‘why God, would you allow my car to break down when I’m so very tired, in a place I’m not familiar with late at night, when I’m broke and don’t have money to shell out to get it fixed?’ I’m thankful I had driven to the conference along my friend, Faith. (ironic, huh?) She stayed with me during the hour-and-a-half it took to finally get a tow truck driver to take off the tire, patch it and put it back on again, and get on the road for home. As we sat on the rear bumper of the car waiting for what seemed to me like an eternity, she reminded me that God was probably just helping us avoid a far greater mishap down the road. That turned my attitude around from frustration to gratitude. And then on the long drive home I complained that my writing career isn’t taking off as fast as I’d like and I’m going broke. She reminded me of God’s timing. And I countered with “but what if it never does take off?” And she reminded me that He would have never put the dream to write Modern Day Bible Stories on my heart if he didn’t want me to be successful at it.
One of the most courageous people of all time is Helen Keller. At 19 months of age an illness rendered her deaf and blind. Helen’s parents hired 20-year-old Anne Sullivan to work with Helen, teaching her words and helping her to “see” and “hear” by spelling words into her hands. Helen in turn became an author and motivational public speaker helping many, many others who were deaf and blind. I believe God sent Anne to Helen just as he encourages each of us by putting others in our paths to help and guide us, like he put Faith with me Saturday night. My favorite quote of all time comes from Helen Keller: “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” When things seem dark and dismal to us, we need to see through Faith’s eyes, Helen’s eyes, the eyes of our own faith. Lord, help me to have blind faith and to see You and Your wonderful plan for my life by opening the eyes of my heart.