Myopia. I learned the word when I was ten years old from the optometrist who checked my eyes and told my parents that I was nearsighted. I didn’t know I was nearsighted. I thought everyone saw everything the way I saw it. Trees were green blobs, the landscape blurred into blotches of pink, green, brown and blue, like an Impressionist painting. (Maybe Monet was near sighted and created Impressionism by painting what he saw.) I have to admit I wondered how other kids could catch and hit a baseball. I never saw the ball until it was on top of me. I could see some vague arm motion in the distance and then, wham! The ball was in my face.
My first pair of glasses changed my world. I discovered leaves on trees. I could see people’s faces inside their cars. I could read the blackboard from the back of the room. As a teenager I became the cleanup hitter on the all stars, and could catch a fly ball over my shoulder while galloping toward the centerfield fence like Joe DiMaggio. When I returned to the dugout, I heard the coach say, “I always knew if he could see it he could catch it.”
Myopia is not only physical. It is spiritual. We are all born spiritually nearsighted. Like my childhood years, we think we see things clearly, but we don’t. We are unaware of what we don’t see. The only person who ever had perfect vision was Jesus. That is why He said, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness … if anyone walks in the night he stumbles because the light is not in him.” (John 8:12; 11:10)
When the prophet Elisha and his servant were surrounded by an enemy army at Dothan, the servant was gripped with fear. But Elisha told him, “Do not fear. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” When God opened the servant’s eyes, he saw that “the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” (2 Kings 6) When we are gripped with fear and despair we need God to open our eyes so we can see clearly. “If God be for us,” Paul said, “who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)
Jesus once met a blind man in the village of Bethsaida. Jesus laid His hands upon him and asked him, “Do you see anything?” The man responded, “I see people; they look like trees walking around. Once more,” the Bible says, “Jesus put His hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened … and he saw everything clearly.” (Mark 8:22-25) Many of us are like that blind man. We may be religious. We may attend church. But we need a “second touch” from God so that we can see clearly.
We are born with spiritual nearsightedness so that we only see things close up, our own self interests. As a result we are often filled with fear, doubt, anger, resentment and despair. When we turn from our sins and place our faith in Christ, He is able to touch us so that we see clearly and walk in the light. Only Christ can cure the spiritual myopia that afflicts us from birth and enable us to see the world as God sees it.