Imagine for just a minute a world of shadowy figures without faces. In this bazaar faceless place none of these figures ever come to truly know or engage the other shadowy figures who coexists with them. This sounds much like an episode from the 1960’s television series The Twilight Zone, but in fact this is a real world and you and I are currently living there.
Can I ask you a question? When was the last time you looked into the eyes of any person that you were encountering? I have observed that when humans interact we often look beyond, beside, around or through the people that we encounter but we often don’t truly look at them.
During the retreats that we at Broken Door Ministries conduct there are two separate exercises that we do. In the first exercise we ask every participant to look into a mirror and into their own eyes. For some, this is quite difficult. Following this, later in the retreat we ask everyone to do something that has proven to be much more difficult. We ask them to look into the eyes of the person sitting next to them. Usually people turn away because they cannot really spend any time looking intently at another person’s eyes.
Many of you know that I was recently diagnosed with a rare neurological disease. It began with a sudden total loss of my vision and for over two weeks I was plunged into total darkness. By God’s grace, thousands of prayers, and with great medical care, now each day I am regaining small amounts of my vision. At this time I am living in the strange world I have been describing.I currently have no central vision and everything is shrouded in fog and in particular when I look at a person I see the outline of their body and the outline of their face but I am unable to see their eyes, their nose or mouth. Everyone is just a shadowy faceless figure inthe fog.
Without treatment this disease progresses from blindness to an attack of ones arms and legs, leaving the person totally paraplegic. Ultimately it attacks lung function causing death. As I sat early one morning pondering the future of where this disease might take me, it occurred to me that this rare neurological disease might have a pandemic spiritual version with identical symptoms. The spiritual version in fact is so widely spread that all humans are infected.
In our daily lives these symptoms manifest themselves with the same progression. We are often blind to those around us. We exist shrouded in a world of fog and we go about our daily lives without taking time to see the people that we encounter as wounded struggling children of God, who just like ourselves are traveling life’s often difficult journey. Sadly we often miss out on the fact that God may be calling us, as the ONLY person, this day, to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to them. We miss the opportunity to share with them that Jesus is the great source of healing, comfort, forgiveness and mercy.
Make no mistake, ALL people have wounds, some just hide them deeper. St Paul say this in Rom 8:22-24.
“We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now; and not only that, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, we also groan within ourselves as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.”
Too often because we are self absorbed we fail to REALLY SEE the people that we interact with each day such as our family members, our friends, our coworkers, the individual that serves us at a restaurant, the grocery store cashier, or the individuals that sit next to us in the pew at church. As our spiritual version of this disease progresses, over time we lose the use of our arms and stop reaching out to those people God puts in our path.Next, we lose the use of our legs as we stop going out of our way to bring Christ to those is need. Without spiritual medication, if we continue to ignore those around us in need, we may not only cause our own spiritual death but we may have missed the opportunity to share the assurance of eternal life through Jesus Christ to those that we have encountered.
What types of pain are others carrying around? The people we interact with may be trying to cope with a personal tragedy in their life or may be struggling with health issues or perhaps they are struggling with financial or emotional issues or addictions or other sinful wounds. Do we really care or will we choose to simply see others as faceless shadows?
The encouraging news for people with this rare physical disease, even though it is not curable, is that with treatment they usually experience remarkable success. Many recover a good portion of their sight and go on to have a relatively normal life expectancy.Even better news is that for people who receive treatment for the spiritual version of the disease it is FULLY curable.
The cure for the spiritual version of this disease is easy and the results are guaranteed by God. The cure is PRAYER! We simply need to begin our day by asking God to reveal to us those people that we will encounterthat need some special attention. We should ask Him to guide us to clearly see the faces of those who need us to bring Christ to them. We should ask for the assistance of the Holy Spirit to recognize that we can notbe isolated Christians. We can pray for the courage and strength to be the arms and legs of Christ here on this earth as we reach out to those in need.
In Luke 10: 27we read “you shall love the Lord God with all of your heart” and “love your neighbor as yourself,” so why do we fail to see “our neighbor” in need?
Jesus addresses this question in Matt 13:13-14 when he responds to the disciples when they ask him why he speaks in parables. He references Isaiah when he says, “This is why I speak to them in parables, because they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand.” Helen Keller has an interesting way of putting this. “It is a great pity that, in the world of light, the gift of sight is used only as a mere convenience rather than as a means of adding fullness to life.”
Let’s depart from the bazaar twilight zone of faceless shadows. Let’s seek the cure for our spiritual disease TODAY. Let’s call on God every morning in prayer for healing from our blindness. Let’s finally begin to love our neighbor as ourselves TODAY.
“Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things…” Psalm 119:18 ESV
THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART.
I want to acknowledge and thank all of you from around the world who offered up prayers for me over these last few weeks. A special thanks for so many of you who wrote to me. I was deeply touched and humbled.
I can attest to the factthat God remains the great healer. He heard those prayers. My sight continues each day to recover. I remain comforted in the knowledge that my future is in the hands of our Lord Jesus Christ. May God bless you one and all!