I’ve been bi before, but once I realized it wasn’t for me, I abandoned it. But now I may have to go back. I saw a doctor for it, actually. I know you’ll think I’m making up his name, but Dr. Joseph Joseph Joseph was a doctor in Kosciusko, Mississippi when I was in college. He is the first eye doctor to prescribe bi-focals for me. Since I do not go to a doctor unless something hurts … and my eyes did okie dokie with them, I didn’t see an eye doctor for about ten years after wearing Dr. Joseph’s prescription. (Caution: Do not try this at home!) My current optometrist, Dr. Brewer, informed me that I did not need bifocals when I first went to him several years ago. So I no longer had to wear them.
Tuesday night I attended a revival at the Meridian Street Church of Christ in Moss Point. I could not believe that I had to wear my glasses to see the preacher, but had to take them off to read the songbook. It was so annoying. My daughter works for Dr. Brewer and I asked her about it. She said it was obvious to her that I needed bi-focals. Again. So Maggy and I both had appointments today. As it turns out, the prescription for the bi-focal is pretty weak…it’s up to me whether to get the bi-focal or just take my glasses off when reading. I also have to make a decision about frames. I love my Ray Bans that I’ve had since I broke my glasses while visiting at Frank and Linda’s home in Nashville. Frank fixed me up pretty good so I didn’t have to go without … but when I got home I picked out a new pair. I think it’s funny – all the famous names associated with eye-wear … it’s big business. So many of them have their name boldly printed where everyone can see it. I thought everybody wanted glasses like Rob Bell. Maybe those glasses are his secret. He has brought about a big black chunky eyeglass revolution among envious evangelicals. There were none in the store though. So I have a pair of Ray Bans on order. If I like ’em I might go back to bifocal. Or not.
Glasses bring new degrees of clarity to the weakness in our eyesight. For some the parables of Jesus were like putting on divine Ray Bans … Messiah vision that touched the heart. For others, they were blurry images that were more confusing than helpful. “…I speak in parables, so that though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand” (Luke 8:10). While there are some passages that stretch me (OK, a lot of passages stretch me) … I have a much more difficult time gaining clarity to understand God’s will for my daily life. I wish it was as simple as squinting at something just out of focus until placing a pair of powerful spectacles and coming into focus. I seem to squint a lot.
Thankfully our Great Physician doesn’t need me to have clarity about everything. Perhaps I desire greater clarity because faith isn’t where it needs to be. The great challenge of the Christian life is not to walk into difficult situations, or to sit tight in comfortable situation, but to walk into unknown situations. Stepping into the foggy future takes the greatest bravery. We cling to the cross as we walk, knowing that this is the compass of our lost direction. The cross points us to the lost that surround us. The cross drives us to serve the unlovely and undeserving. The cross doesn’t let us give up on people who have no direction. Sometimes we are those people.
To gain a clear vision of the cross is an act of grace. It really doesn’t matter what else we think we see, or on what else we have a grasp. The clarity of the cross reminds us that we are mostly walking in darkness … translated by His power into His marvelous light by His grace and to His glory. I need to see the cross to see myself, and to see my way out of my own mess. If it takes bi-focals, put ’em on. Why grope and gripe when you can cling and sing?
Thanks for reading.