When my youngest didn’t learn to read by the end of K5 I thought, Well boys sometimes need more time to mature. He’ll get it next year. When he still wasn’t reading by the in 2nd grade I realized there was an issue. After many discussions with friends, questions to professionals, and worried conversations with my husband, we ended up at a vision therapist’s office. (I hadn’t even known there was such a thing.)
A lengthy questionnaire plus an examination by the doctor led to a diagnosis that very afternoon – my son had limited peripheral vision and his eyes were not tracking together. Scary information for a mama. Had it not been for the kindness of the office staff, I very likely would’ve ended up in a puddle of tears. But our sweet doctor and her staff assured me that this was not an uncommon diagnosis, and that a few months of vision therapy would have him seeing as normal.
We went twice weekly for in-office therapy for over a year. We did exercises at home as well using the Brock string and other apparatus and visual exercises. Within weeks his reading began to improve and in just over a year he had finished therapy and learned to read! Success!
As I reflect back on this experience and the lessons learned, there are clearly similar lessons we can learn in the spiritual realm.
- Living in community with other believers is important. It has been said “we b don’t know what we don’t know in life.” A godly friend, teacher, or mentor can often point out to us an area where they see that something is wrong. Physical eyesight can have problems and a person may not realize it because it seems normal to them, just as my son never realized his vision was limited. But when it affected his reading, I noticed that something wasn’t normal.
- Some issues in our Christian walk will take months of work to correct them. Correcting bad habits takes training, scripture memorization, and prayer. A battle with an eating disorder, pornography, or substance abuse (among other things) may take months or years of prayer, spiritual guidance, and professional therapy to overcome. That time may seem long and challenging, but think of the lessons to be learned and the faith in God that will be developed. My son’s vision therapy seemed interminable as we were walking through it day by day, but looking back on it 15+ years later, it is just a small blip in the rearview mirror, and worth every moment of getting help.
- Tools are necessary to spiritual growth; our main tool is God’s Word itself. Just as my son needed the Brock string and other instruments to develop correct visual perception, we need certain tools as well. God’s Word is the Swiss Army knife of tools (you know, the knives that have every tool you’ll ever need folded up into one pocket-sized utensil). Paul reminded Timothy of this when he said, “From childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:15-17 NASB)
We want to see the world clearly through Our Father’s eyes. We want our view of the world to be unclouded. We want to be able to understand the world accurately in these strange times so that we are not thrown off track by every whim of society or every bit of advice that proclaims itself to be true and for our best. God’s Word is the source of all truth. To have 20/20 spiritual vision we must soak ourselves in His Word, seek out Christian community to help us see clearly, and not grow weary doing good, but patiently allow God to work His change in us by living obedient and faith-filled lives.