20/20 Vision: Detached Retina

It was a normal day, maybe a bit more strenuous, with hours of heavy house cleaning followed by a hot shower before planning to run errands and prepare supper. Then suddenly there were arcs of light flashing in my eyes, and that normal day became anything but normal.

I immediately started blinking hoping it would go away. But I knew instinctively it wouldn’t. Somewhere in the back of my mind I heard the words “flashes of light before the eyes” and “blood pressure” in the same sentence. Where did I know that from? The thought then made me question, Do I call the eye doctor or my physician? Is this a medical or eye issue?

I sat down to cool off and rest to see if it would go away, but to no avail. So I made the decision to call the eye doctor first. Maybe they could refer me to who I needed to see if it was not them. Trying to look up a number when you’re having eye issues is challenging. I finally got through to my ophthalmologist, and my inquiries to the receptionist were followed by an immediate, “Come on. We’ll work you in.”

After a short drive, several bright lights, and drops in the eye, the verdict came. A possible detached retina which would send me immediately to the retina specialist across town. By the time I got there the flashes of lights had stopped, but lack of a symptom did not mean I hadn’t experienced a problem.

The retina specialist was young, but exceptionally kind and knowledgable. He did more thorough testing as I emotionally held my breath and prayed that this would not end in eye surgery or loss of vision. A good hour after the normal close of business for most medical professionals, my new friend and retina doctor gave me good news and sent me on my way home with instructions to return if I experienced the symptoms again. Much to my relief, it was not a detached retina, but a condition of aging which cause the vitreous fluid of the eye to dry up a bit, shrink, and pull on the retina causing symptoms similar to a detaching retina.

I learned several things that day.

  1. When something weird happens with your eyes, get to a doctor quickly.
  2. Dryness in the eye can be dangerous.
  3. Not all things are what they appear to be. Consult one who is an expert and follow His instructions.
  4. Our vision is very important. We should do whatever is in our power to keep it healthy.

Scripture tells us that spiritual vision is very important as well. Proverbs 29:19 (KJV) says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keeps the law, happy is he.” Spiritual sight is as crucial as physical sight.

When our spiritual vision is not functioning correctly, we see ourselves, other people, and situations in a skewed fashion. What causes an impairment of spiritual vision? Anything that does not line up with God’s Holy Word and the example set by His son, Jesus.

  • Pride. “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:3-5 ESV) These verses instruct us to have the mind of Christ, a mind of humility.
  • Selfishness & Judgment. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:3-5 NIV) Let’s spend less time pointing fingers at others and deal with our own sinful, selfish hearts first.
  • Lack of the Spirit of wisdom/enlightenment. “I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might.” (Ephesians 1:16-19 ESV) If we lack spiritual wisdom, how do we get it? – First, as Paul demonstrated here, we ask God for it, for ourselves and for others that we pray for. – Second, we seek to know God, the source of all wisdom. Job 12:13 ESV says “With God are wisdom and might; he has counsel and understanding.” – And finally, we stand in a healthy awe and fear of God. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding.” (Psalm 11:10 ESV)
  • Sin. Any sin. Sin separates us from God and obscures our spiritual vision.

So when you find your spiritual vision flashing and failing on you, remember these things.

  1. Get to the Great Physician quickly!
  2. Realize that your spiritual dryness can damage your ability to see with God’s eyes. Make your relationship with Him a priority. A vibrant, healthy relationship.
  3. Things aren’t always what they appear to us to be. Stay in God’s Word daily for wisdom. Follow His instructions from His Word.
  4. Do whatever is in your power to keep your spiritual vision healthy. Repent. Pray. Memorize the Word. Journal. Study the Word. Gather with believers. Apply God’s Word. Teach. Disciple. Learn. Obey.

No detached retinas or eye diseases for us. Let us seek clear spiritual vision. Blindness is dangerous spiritually, but impaired vision that we become satisfied living with can be just as dangerous. “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped.” (Isaiah 35:5 ESV) Let us seek spiritual eyes to see and ears to hear.

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