Seeing Clearly

 "I can see clearly now, the rain is gone,
     I can see all obstacles in my way. 
     Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind 
     It's gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright) 
     Sun Shinny day."

     I think I can make it now, the pain is gone
     All of the bad feelings have disappeared
     Here is that rainbow I've been prayin' for
     It's gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
     Sun Shinny day."
Written by Johnny Nash, released 1972

     When I first became a Christian, this was one of my favorite secular songs. Woven through the lyrics, I could express what Jesus had done for me. He had made everything clear in my spiritual vision. He had lifted my spirits like no one or anything before that time. The tangled web of depressed feelings were washed away and in their place was the most beautiful rainbow painted across crystal-like, celestial blue skies.

     I wanted to sing forever of the pure joy I was experiencing. Everywhere I looked, life was brighter. Creation sparkled. And everyone around me knew of the beauty surrounding us.

     Well, just recently I had cataract surgery in one eye. When my vision cleared up in a couple of days, I immediately remembered these lyrics and the sacred place they held in my heart. I hummed the tune, noticing how vibrant colors had become after surgery. The burnt orange in our autumn garland popped with hues in High Definition. Life was a brighter white. Lines were more defined. And I was astounded at how clearly I could see distant objects. I even commented to my husband how I could see the stubble of the actor's beard on TV. Images were so clear, they almost seemed artificial.
      Unfortunately, I started noticing a dark crescent-shaped line appearing in my peripheral vision. The technicians whom I spoke to over the phone explained it away as reflections that would disappear in a couple of weeks as my brain adjusted. Their explanation did not sit well with either my husband or myself so I dug a little further on the web and discovered that this condition could last up to a year.
     My disappointment was serious. Yes, I could still see brilliant colors and crystal-clear objects but this obstacle in my eye was diminishing the gift of clear vision I had received.

     Over the years in my journey with the Lord, my once crystal-clear spiritual vision has also suffered from obstacles. My heart had stopped singing this song as I focused on the black crescent-shaped line that was intruding on the beautiful rainbow and the bright blue skies. I guess my brain needed to adjust its focus.
Yet, stubbornly I clung to that black line until I was guaranteed "nothing but blue skies" again.

     There are no guarantees like that in Scripture or from the Lord. As a matter of fact, He says that we can expect to have tribulations in this world  but that He has overcome the world (John 16:31-33).  That has always been hard for me to accept. I have wanted to keep my "bright, bright Sun Shinny day" forever--in this world. 

     So I stumble through trials as if I am still wearing the cloudy brown out-of-focus vision I had before Jesus filled me with a new vision and a new life. My brain needs to refocus. On Him. On His Word.

     "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (brain). Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:2 NIV parenthesis mine

     I liked the depth of The Message, so I have included its translation of Romans 12:2 as well.
     "Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you."

     With the help of the Lord, I think I can make it now--even though "all the bad feelings" have not disappeared. The rainbow I need to take hold of is Jesus, Himself, and His Word. That's what I've really been praying for~though I may not have know it.

     Enjoy the song.

From My Heart to Yours,
Tell Me a Story
Missional Women

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