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  • Christine Vogelsang

From Darkness to Light



“Crissy! Do you want your eggs blinded?”


Blinded? What in the world was Aunt Lila talking about?


“I don’t know. Do I? What do you mean, blinded?”


“Well, you see these big yellow egg eyes staring at you? I just splash some of the hot grease on them.“


I wasn’t that particular about my fried eggs, so I let her go ahead and “blind” them.


***


There are all kinds of physical blindness. I’m so nearsighted that I’m considered legally blind. I truly can’t discern much without my glasses except general shapes and colors.


I learned to ask my students if anyone had a problem with the various colors of markers I used on the white board. This after a young high school boy asked me to not use red or green markers since my writing all became tan and unreadable. Oh, color blindness!


Disease unchecked can cause blindness: glaucoma, cataracts, diabetes. My father had macular degeneration that brought to a halt his love for reading. Parasites and bacteria are also the culprits to blindness.


I had a good friend in college who was blind from birth. Or almost from birth. Karen was born prematurely, but had perfect eyes. Unfortunately the oxygen level was too high in the incubator she was placed in, and her eyes became blind. I was always amazed at the acceptance she had of her condition and the good humor that permeated her personality.


Karen taught me a lot about blindness. When we walked down the sidewalk together, she asked to take my arm instead of my grasping hers. The sensation of being pulled or pushed down the street was unsettling to her. She also admonished me when I didn’t notice a branch was hanging down in her path and it hit her in the face. “You know. I really can’t see those things!”


But her blindness only went so far. Even though she couldn’t see my tears, she knew when I was crying. She wasn’t blind to the misery of others.


Scriptures warn us about taking advantage of someone who is blind. “Do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, but fear your God. I am the Lord” (Lev. 19:14). Curse the deaf? The deaf person can’t hear the curse, so who is it intended for? The blind person can’t see the stumbling block, until it’s too late. Is this mean-spirited display for the amusement of those who can hear and see? Those who join in the derision of someone who is at a disadvantage, who has problems? Those who agree with the curser, the tormentor?  Deuteronomy warns that anyone who leads a blind person astray on the road will be cursed himself! (27:18) It takes a special cruelty to be this heartless.


Isaiah proclaimed that the Messiah would open the eyes of the blind, and He did! I love the stories of Jesus’ compassion on the sightless. My favorite is the one in the ninth chapter of John. This man was born blind, but the teachers of the Law wouldn’t believe it. Oh, they agreed that he could see, but they were convinced it was a sham, even when they were given the facts by the testimony of those who had known him his entire life. In their case, seeing was NOT believing!


***


Even with perfect eyesight, we can have vision problems. I know I have to watch for blind spots when I’m driving or I’ll be jarred into awareness with a loud horn. Many models of cars now actually warn you that you’re moving into an occupied lane. That’s still no excuse for not paying attention, but it’s a nice backup when you’re distracted.


Ah… distractions that blind us! Or even an outright lack of perception that leads us down a blind alley. Or even something worse than disease. Being blinded by greed, or by accepting bribes (See Deut. 16:19).


And who do these blinded people listen to? Who are they warned against? Blind guides, of course! Now who in their right mind would hire a blind guide? No one.


Yet, how quickly some are to follow the guidance of people who are blinded to the truth. The very blind guides that our Savior warned against. The guides who look to their own path to righteousness and goodness and perfection… the blind alley of misplaced faith.


God cares about those who are spiritually perishing because of their lack of sight. He intervened personally in the life of Saul when He blinded that persecutor with the brilliance of His light. It wasn’t until Saul’s sight was taken from him that he actually was able to see. He no longer had distractions of his own devising. He no longer was blinded by hate towards the followers of the Christ. He could only hear a voice, the Voice of his Lord Jesus.


And sometimes we too can be so distracted or convinced by what we see or think we understand that we miss the vision the Lord is trying to give us. Sometimes we have blinders on that prevent us from seeing the whole picture and only keep us focused on a path to misconceptions. Sometimes we are so dazzled by something or someone, the glittering lights, the shiny displays of self absorption and self service, that we are hoodwinked into following a path that our good sense and discernment would otherwise steer us away from. We start to believe that we have everything we need. We look to ourselves and our own accomplishments. We are convinced we have perfect vision.


But then the Lord warns us about our misplaced sight, that inward view that leads to blindness. Just as He warned that self-serving, self confident church in Revelations 3, we too can be blinded by this world and what it has to offer, missing out on the true fortune, what we can have if we only listen to His voice.


Now some may say this is just another example of blind faith, hoodwinked and made the fool. If that were true, why would our Lord warn us to test the spirits? He urges us to look at all the evidence with eyes wide open. He certainly has nothing to hide! His is truly an open book! And He promises to lead the blind and turn the darkness into light (Is. 42:16).


***


For many years my friend carried the eternal light from the dark sanctuary and back in again at our Good Friday Tenebrae services. He made an almost disastrous mistake the first time he carried it up the altar steps to its place. He held the light so close to his face that he couldn’t see in front of him. He was the only one who had light, yet he stumbled up the stairs, lurching forward and catching his fall at the last minute.


I too can have God’s light too close to my face. Sometimes I’m focused on it so intently that I don’t see the path He has laid before me. I don’t see those around me that need my help. I don’t offer the light to others who are blindly going in the wrong direction. I don’t allow it to shine on my own failings that I blindly justify to myself.


It’s all about me… basking in the Light… instead of using it as a “light unto my path” or even a “light to the world.”

I’m so intent on singing out, “Twas blind, but now I see!” and “This Little Light of Mine” that I miss out on the follow up… “I’m gonna let it shine!”

But if I’m using my Light for others, I don’t have to worry about, in the meantime, losing my own path. For my Savior reminds me in Isaiah 42:16:

“Along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;

 I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth.

These are the things I will do. I will not forsake them.”

Ah, there’s the eternal promise: He will conquer the darkness… He will lead me… and most of all… He will never forsake me.

Leaving my guilt at the cross,


Christine

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