...was blind but now I see.
This is yet another of those instances when I kinda know what’s on my heart, but don’t have the slightest notion of the best way to express exactly what it is, so bear with me, would you?
Every once in a while, someone or something comes along that impacts me immediately. I don’t have to know the why, or the how. I just know that it means something. That ever happen to you?
I’ve always loved the song Amazing Grace, which was written and published in 1779 by the English poet and clergyman, John Newton. It’s a song about forgiveness and redemption, and its message plants a seed of hope in all who are willing to receive it. Amazing Grace also holds a special place in the heart of my wife Jackie. I don’t know that she’s ever heard the song without being moved to tears, or at least not when I’ve been with her. Perhaps that’s why I sang and recorded my own version of it for our wedding in 1989. It caught her totally by surprise, and I can still remember Jackie fighting back tears while it was playing, which in turn, had me doing the same thing.
The funny thing is… Check that. Perhaps the more fitting thing for me to say is that the most amazing thing about Amazing Grace was its importance to me when I didn’t even know what God’s amazing grace was. It’s another one of those instances where God knew that it was gonna mean a lot to me one day; He was just waiting for my mind to catch up to what was in my heart!
When I finally realized the depth of God’s of grace, it brought me to my knees in gratitude and thankfulness. I still spend a lot of time there, on my knees, before our amazing God. There’s just something that feels good to me about physically humbling myself before Him.
Curiously enough, today I want to talk about the “flip side” of amazing grace. For me, there’s a paradox that lies within “I once was lost, but now I’m found, Was blind, but now I see.”
Oh yeah, my eyes were opened when I was born again. For the first time in my life, I saw God as my Father the Provider, the Holy Spirit as my Comforter and Strength, and Jesus as my Savior.
I have to insert something here. I’m reminded of a verse from the 1965 Simon & Garfunkel classic The Sounds of Silence:
People talking without speaking. People hearing without listening.
Okay, I know that I was talking about sight, and this particular verse is about speaking and hearing. The parallel lies in the fact that that speaking, and listening, and sight are all about our senses.
Right now I’m looking out the window of our prayer room and I can see trees, the sky, and a lady walking across the parking lot. If I look out the same window, with a different perspective, with a different set of eyes, I see living trees, an incredible sunset, and a walking, thinking, child of God. Now, I not only see, but I see. You get what I’m saying here?
Okay, if you think that I’ve “lost it” you may be right, but I’m not finished.
For we walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7
Three years ago, before I knew that this verse in the Bible even existed, I was attending a spiritual retreat in the mountains of Oregon. In attendance was a recording artist named Suz Ogden, and she played and sang a song (I’m not sure of the title) that included the refrain:
I walk by faith, and not by sight. I live by what I know is true.
Yet another instance of God waiting for my heart (or perhaps my spirit) to catch up with the words of this song that were immediately burned into my memory banks! Days, perhaps even weeks after the retreat, I found myself singing, “I walk by faith and not by sight……”
Actually, the day that I was born again was, in reality, the day that I began to lose my sight! It wasn’t like I woke up one morning and I was blind; nothing as radical as that. It wasn’t immediately impactful as Jesus restoring the blind man’s sight. This was a slow but steady process. In fact, it was such a subtle change that I wasn’t even aware that it was happening.
As my walk with the Lord became the focal point of my life, and as my knowing of Him and my faith in Him became deeper, my vision slowly, but surely deteriorated. My love for Him became, and still is, so intense that I was blinded to everything else.
When that happened, I learned the true meaning of walking by faith and not by sight. For me, it’s absolute, unwavering belief that God has the perfect plan for me…that He’s gonna supply me with everything that I need…that He’s never gonna let me fall down and stay there…that I no longer have to walk in fear. What freedom.
Still, I have to tell you that while walking by faith alone is an absolute blessing, it requires even more faith to stay on the path.
You see, I used to have a clear vision for our salon; want I wanted it to be, and where I wanted it to go. I used to have a clear vision for my life with my wife Jackie; where we’d be in five years, and what we’d be doing. I used to have a clear vision for The Seed of Hope and my ministry; what it would become, and where it would take me. I had a clear vision for all the important things in my life.
Today, other than serving the Lord with all that’s in me, I don’t have a defined vision for any of them. It’s not that I don’t think about each one of them. I do, but I guess that my thoughts fall within the realm of dreams (which is going to be my next topic unless God lays it on my heart to write about something else). I’m talking about a clear vision, as in something specific.
Let me give you a simple analogy.
Let’s say that you put a $100 bill on a doorframe in your home that’s just beyond your reach. Let’s also say that every morning when you walk through that door you reach for that bill on the wall. For you to have any chance for touching it you have to jump for it, which you do; and you fall just short of your goal. Undaunted, you jump every time you walk through that doorway. Every time. Every day. Days turn into weeks, perhaps even months. Still, you keep on jumping.
Guess what’s happening every time you jump? If you haven’t figured it out already, I’ll go ahead and tell you that with each jump you’re building up the muscles in your legs. You know what’s next, right?
One morning, on the way out the door, you jump for that $100 bill, just as you’ve done time after time after time, but this time you come down with that greenback in your hand! Jubilation! Celebration! Satisfaction.
That’s the kind of vision that I’m talking about. I don’t have that anymore, and I miss it. It’s hard for me to stay motivated all the time when I don’t have a goal.
Today’s post is a wakeup call for me. I feel like I just got hit right between the eyes, and I know that it’s for a reason.
I do indeed walk by faith and not by sight. I do indeed live my life by what I know is true: God is all that I need.
I believe in a big God. I believe that with Him, all things are possible. I believe that He has a perfect plan for me, but I’m beginning to think that He’s waiting for me to add some details to His plans. Perhaps He’s just waiting for me to hand some audacious, specific, goal-oriented, Kingdom-driven, “I-believe-that-this-is-why-You-put-me-here-God-and-I’m-ready-and-willing-so-what-are-you-waiting-for?” requests to Him.
I get it God. I’ll be asking.
I’ll see you next time. It’ll be about dreams.