I have had the opportunity to spend the last two days at home. It’s not that I have taken a vacation or planned some great restful sabbatical. On the contrary, I have been home with an eye condition. Three nights ago I took my contacts out a little early because my left eye was hurting. As the evening went on the pain got more intense. By the time I went to bed it was quite painful, and I thought I had scratched it badly without realizing it. I wear hard lenses, and it has happened before.
That night, sleep pretty much eluded me. I tossed and turned for most of the night because of the pain in my eye. When I got up to get ready for work, the pain was so intense that I could barely open either eye. I decided that when I got to work I would go down and get checked out in the urgent care. (I foolishly drove myself to work while squinting through one eye.) They were not able to find out what was wrong, but the swelling in my eye was a real cause for concern, so I made an appointment with our local eye doctor.
The diagnosis was a central corneal ulcer with bacterial infiltration. That is eye doctor talk for a hole in my eye with a nasty little infection. This type of infection left untreated will result in a minimum of a loss of vision and the possible loss of the eye itself. I was not having a good day. The doc gave me some drops for my eye and set up several follow-up appointments along with a stern warning not to take this lightly.
That was a couple of days ago by the time you read this. As I write, I am sitting in a darkened room typing on a laptop with the screen brightness turned down so I am able to see what I am doing. The pain is gone now, but there is still some swelling and redness in my eye that I am dealing with. It would be nice to be able to open the blinds and enjoy the sunshine, but I can’t handle that just yet. Tomorrow I will go to work wearing sunglasses…
My prayer is that when I go in to see the doctor tomorrow I will hear that the meds are working, and that by taking the time to let things rest, I will see some more healing. If things aren’t where the doctor wants them to be, I maybe going in to see a specialist. I won’t know yet when this is posted, so I guess if you want to know how things turn out then you can ask in the comments below!
This hole in my eye probably did not happen all in a day. I have had a little bit of discomfort over the last week, but I just told myself that it was nothing more than being tired and a lot of wind and dry weather that was the cause of it. It was not until the pain became too hard to ignore did I realize there was a bigger problem. I was not able to see the problem because I was not open to the idea that a problem could exist. Only when the pain hit did I stop to evaluate things.
Sitting at home has given me a little free time, and I wish I could say that I have done a lot with it, but when you need your eyes to do things and you don’t have them then you are a little limited! So, I have been thinking about things. Thinking is a new pursuit of mine, and while I do not engage in it as often as I should, I am finding that it has its benefits! I really should make it a larger part of my decision making process…
I want to share what I have learned as a result of this down time. I don’t know if it will help anyone else out there, but I want to share it anyway. If for no other reason, I want to write it down because it makes it more real for me.
Sometimes, if you really want to see something clearly, you have to face the things that you are blind to.
I could have ignored the problem with my eye. After all, it has hurt before and it always got better. It wouldn’t have fixed the problem though. It would have led to a larger problem that would take more drastic measures to correct.
The Christian life needs to be looked at the same way. We have the big things in the Christian life that we think about, and we feel like if we take care of those then the rest of life will fall into place. For many years I thought that going to church was one of those things. As long as I am there and listening, I will grow in Christ. In reality, if that is the extent of my Christian walk, then I am just waiting for the spiritual equivalent of an eye ulcer!
I need to be attentive to my spiritual health just like I should have been more attentive to my vision! There are always early indicators that there could be a problem. In the case of my eye it was irritation, but in my spiritual walk it could be allowing people to annoy me or having a bad attitude or selfish thoughts. They might be little things that I can dismiss as nothing, but they could also be indicating that there is a wound in a relationship or a deficiency in my time with God that needs to be addressed before things get worse.
David wrote several Psalms where he asked God to search his heart for the evil that may be lurking in it. I know that there is evil in my heart, and I too ask God to point it out to me, and He does. The problem is that I am sometimes guilty of turning a blind eye to it. I need to be willing to look at what He shows me and not dismiss it.
He shows me where there the problems are through things like strained relationships, frustration, anger, envy and more. He is always faithful to do that. His desire is not to bring me shame, but to show me my need for Him to make the wrongs right again, and to grow as a result. I need to be acutely aware of those indicators to live a spiritually healthy life.
I’m not going to catch every spiritual symptom early. Some of them are going to grow until they bring me pain, and while I understand and accept that, I am determined to limit those times as much as possible. I want a life of relentless growth, and that means that I can’t just throw in the towel. I have to take ownership of my spiritual health.
My eye feels much better now than it did. Rest, medicine, and a lot of prayers from friends and family have facilitated that healing from God. I’ve learned a few things as a result of this infection that are going to change the way that I take care of my eyes. It will require a little more time, and a little more discipline, but those actions could prevent this from happening again.
The same thing happens in my walk with God. If I acknowledge and learn from my experiences, and discipline myself going forward, I will be much more aware when I see those dangerous spiritual symptoms on the rise and can act before an infection can take hold.
How about you? Struggling with anger or irritation? Envious of another person? Struggling with a selfish or a judgmental attitude? You might have something going on in your heart that requires a visit with the Great Physician. He’s ready to see you now. Don’t wait. Time might not be on your side…
In His Grip,