I’ve been thinking a lot about Bartimaeus (Mark 10) and the man born blind (John 9), and all those other people in the Bible whose physical limitations were miraculously changed in an instant. I’ve never thought about their lives after the story. What did they think every day that they woke up and could see, walk, or be rid of a chronic disease? What does it feel like to be rid of the power of evil after being tormented by a demon?
For almost thirty years (since my freshman year of college), I have been wearing contacts or glasses to see distance. After forty I needed glasses to read as well. I remember one day in those early years of contacts as I was sitting in my bed reading, I looked around my room and thought, “I’ve been healed.” It took a few minutes to realize that I had gotten up earlier and put in my contacts. I told a friend the story and she said, “Well, you never know Debi, maybe someday you will be healed.”
That day has come. God allowed me to be healed through the wonder of LASIK and my great doctor, Brad Bowman of Cornea Associates. My husband gave me this gift for my 50th birthday—which isn’t until December but he is starting early. Since fifty is the year of jubilee in the Bible, he told me that he wanted to set me free from contacts and glasses. I have to tell you it is a surreal experience. It feels so normal to see. I’ve been seeing very well all these years with the aid of contacts and glasses. What is strange is that I don’t have to go through the daily ritual of taking out and cleaning my contacts, or reaching for glasses if I want to see something. I’m grateful to God for providing this experience that was somewhat instant—only a few hours of discomfort before the results were more than obvious. I can see perfectly!
I’m so grateful today, but what about tomorrow? What about two years from now? How will I feel? Will I remember to praise God for the great gift of my sight? With my track record, I can tell you probably not. Rather, I will experience my sight as ordinary, even my right. I will grow comfortable with this miracle of sight and not see it as anything special, rather, as the expected.
I’ll join the ranks of the oblivious to God’s goodness in our lives. It requires a spiritual discipline to be grateful daily. I must discipline myself even to be grateful in the first place. God knows this about us and He gave this command to the Israelites while they were still in the wilderness before the blessings were received fully.
“When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day” (Deuteronomy 8:10-11).
God commands gratefulness, not because He is a glory-seeking God, but because something gets off-centered in our souls when we don’t stop to be grateful.
I can remember that summer after my freshman year of college when I first got my contacts that I was equally grateful. It was amazing actually to see the outline of leaves on trees. Today I have a spiritual discipline called Bonun Dei, where I reflect on my God-given good for the day. It is special to practice it with your spouse. Stop and think about where you have seen the Lord and experienced His goodness to you every day!