Well, today has been an adventure so far.
I didn’t sleep well last night. Something just wasn’t……right.
And then, early early this morning, sometime after I had managed to fall asleep, I was awakened by a searing, stabbing pain behind my right eye. I basically fell out of bed, and realized that my entire cheek was wet with tears. My eye was pouring tears. But I was unable to open it. “Hmmm…”, I thought to myself, “this could be interesting.” (I’ve watched a few House episodes lately.)
I literally stumbled my way to the bathroom, taking inventory of my symptoms. The stabbing headache, the burning eye, the swollen face (even my nose is swollen), my stuffy nose and my raw throat.
Opening up my one good eye, I took a diagnostic look in the mirror. Yep, I was afraid of that. Someone snatched my body during the night and replaced it with that of a monster. Seriously. I look beat up. I don’t have a lot of natural beauty. However this, whatever “this” is, has created a beast.
I’ve not been “sick” in a long time. I don’t even know if this is “sickness” or what it is. I managed to fish my contact out of my eye (yeah, that was fun). And I’ve been alternating between laying in the dark and trying to work. I know I should probably go to the doctor, and will if this is no better by tomorrow. Right now I don’t think I could drive without smashing into something, which would probably compound this already frustrating situation.
So, while waiting for a work teleconference to begin, I decided–out of curiosity–to see what the Bible says about the eyes. Yes, I was proof-texting. But I literally had to laugh out loud when I read these verses in Matthew 6:22-23:
22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
I laughed, because I am literally living this verse today. My eye is very unhealthy–and so it is creating the rest of my body to be unhealthy. I know it is very sunny out today, but everything looks incredibly dim to me–there is an aura of shadowy-ness that is surrounding my peripheral vision of even my good eye. It’s very strange. I’m typing this with one eye closed, and with tears pouring down my cheek. My whole body is full of darkness.
But what exactly does Jesus mean in this verse?
I had to get a little help with this one, so I turned to John Piper, who is–as I’ve said before–way smarter than I am. Here is what he had to say about the “bad eye”:
It refers to an eye that cannot see the beauty of grace. It cannot see the brightness of generosity. It cannot see unexpected blessing to others as a precious treasure. It is an eye that is blind to what is truly beautiful and bright and precious and God-like.
Hmm. I think we all suffer from “bad eyes” at times. Maybe our eyes are more often “unhealthy” than “healthy”, therefore allowing our world to be ruled by darkness. We get so caught up in pity, in selfishness, in dark thinking (I’m referring to myself here!), that we often miss the “beauty of grace”. The settled-ness of God’s presence and grace, even when times are ugly. When the unknown looms large and scary. When we allow the darkness of this world to penetrate and create darkness in our life.
I’ll have to admit, I’m struggling today to see God’s grace and light—mostly because I’m a bad, impatient patient. I feel lousy. I look horrendous. And I’m very hampered by what I can and cannot do today, thus making my list of things that need to get done grow. I’m frustrated. Maybe not all of these tears today are from having a leaky eye.
But, I also know that beyond the very temporal conditions of every day–that includes frustrations, illnesses, disasters, inconveniences, and just the “stuff” that life is made of–lies the very real grace of God. The grace we each need every single day to see the beauty of that grace. The grace we need to keep moving forward. To see the brightness of generosity. To see what is truly beautiful. Truly bright. Truly Precious. Truly God-Like.
I’ve written this post this morning sporadically–in between stumbling to the couch to lay down, covering my monster eye with a wet washcloth. It may not even make sense, and the idea of reading back through it to see if it does hurts my head too much. So I’ll leave it like it is. And I’ll encourage you–and myself–to protect our eyes. Literally and figuratively. Eyes are important. Seeing and knowing is important. Are we going to let our eyes give us a perspective that is grace filled, or a perspective that is filled with darkness?