I got my first pair of glasses in fourth grade. By eighth grade I graduated to contacts—gas permeable lenses, anybody remember those torture devices? I’d pop ’em in before school every morning and suffer until dinner time from shards of plastic stabbing my eyelids. But hey, I was glasses-free. Since then I’ve struggled through every kind of contact lens available to Americans but have never been able to find one that doesn’t feel like sandpaper on my eyeballs by lunchtime.
So. You know how I’m a huge advocate for embracing how God made us, right? If you were to ask me what one thing I’d change about myself if I could—what singular aspect of my physical body I would gladly exchange for a newer version—it wouldn’t be my frizzy hair or my round face or my guinea pig feet. I can live with those. Nope—the one thing I’d change?
I’d have perfect eyesight.
Imagine! No contacts! No glasses! No more suffering through fiery eyeballs or squinting to see the alarm clock every morning. How amazing would that be? What a gift!!
And—hallelujah, praise the Lord—I finally got it. Last week.
Glory be to God in the highest, I did it!! I saved my pennies, I made the appointment, I mustered my courage and I chugged down those Valium pills (praise heaven for Valium)—then I practically squealed with glee while some humongous sci-fi laser machine sliced open my eyeballs and chiseled into my flesh the one thing I’ve been dreaming of owning for years—decades, really.
And now it’s mine.
Fantastic, right? I mean, I get out of bed in the morning and I can see the digits on the clock. I can drive to school and read the road signs—no glasses! No contacts! I can look out the window of my office and make out every branch of every tree across the street. It’s a miracle!!
At last, my life is perfect.
Of course not.
Because LASIK was fabulous and all, but it didn’t empty my dishwasher. It didn’t prevent my husband and me from getting into a squabble last weekend, and it surely didn’t convince my first-grader to go to school this morning without crying and clinging to my wrist with a death grip.
My thighs aren’t any smaller, my deadlines aren’t any looser, my bank account isn’t any fatter (actually, LASIK made sure of that), my minivan isn’t running any quieter, and I still can’t eat sugar without my stomach blowing up like a balloon.
All of my regular problems still exist.
That one thing I imagined would change my life for the better? Sure, it has. To a certain degree, as far as my vision is concerned. But it cannot compensate for every frustration. Nor should it.
That one thing you’ve been dreaming of—the big change you’re certain will make your life better.
A new job.
A new house.
A happier husband.
Whatever it is. Yes, it probably will make your life better. It might be a tremendous blessing, praise the Lord. But it will not be your escape. It will not demolish every stronghold. It will not save you.
Only Jesus can do that.
“The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring” (Isaiah 58:11, NLT).
So that thing you’ve been fixating on. That elusive prize you’re just certain will make everything okay. It’s not bad to want what God has laid on your heart—not at all. Pursue it.
But it is wrong to make that thing the central focus of your thinking. Let’s keep our eyes instead on Jesus, and every earthly problem will shrink in light of His power and love.
“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” (Isaiah 26:3, NLT).
Funny thing, just in case you’re wondering. Since my eye procedure last week, I’ve been going through the healing stages. Which involve, wouldn’t you know it—scratchy, gritty eyes. So while I can see distances I haven’t been able to detect with my naked peepers in over 30 years, my eyeballs don’t actually feel any better yet. In fact, they feel worse. I keep wanting to rip out my contacts but then I remember I’m not wearing any. Ironic, eh?
But I’m hopeful. Pardon the pun, but, healing is in sight.
With Jesus, it always is.