“What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me see again.”
Scripture: Luke 18:35-43
Am I the only one who has ever wondered what is worse: to have been born blind or to lose one’s sight? I must admit that this is not the first time I have ever considered whether never having sight or having lost one’s sight presents the greatest challenge. I still don’t know the answer to my question, but I lean toward having lost sight.
Growing up I was never around blind persons much. One exception was my Dad’s ham radio operator friend, Phil. He was not born blind, but had become blind early in his adult life. He lived in northern Georgia, and we visited Phil several times. While I cannot remember what visit it was, I never will forget Phil asking to see my Mother’s face and she consented. Phil tenderly took my mother’s face in his hands and from her forehead down he felt her face so that he could see her. He may have asked to see my Dad’s face and mine, but what I vividly remember is Phil seeing my Mother and commenting on how beautiful she was.
Phil had lost his sight. He lost the ability to drive his car and to match his clothes. If Phil wanted to read he had to learn and depend upon Braille (long before audio books). He could no longer complete a form, determine what amount of money was in his wallet. Having had the ability to see he could remember the colors of pink, purple, orange, yellow, and crimson on a background of blue in a sunset. Having lost his sight, he could still remember how his parents looked. Having lost his sight, he could remember that a tree had a trunk, with branches of leaves, and stretched heavenward making a tall and imposing sight. Phil accepted his loss of vision and made adaptations to life as best as he could. Phil had to relearn how to do certain things as a blind person that he had done entirely differently as one who had vision.
When I consider people who have been born blind, I think of Helen Keller. Helen also could not hear and for a long time she could not speak. Thanks to Annie Sullivan, Helen did get to experience a lot in life even though she did not have the physical gifts of hearing and seeing. She faced a number of challenges in her life and she overcame them. Having been born blind she never saw a palette of colors. She never saw the faces of her parents and her beloved teacher. She never even saw what she looked like in a mirror. Who knows what she saw as a blind person: was it a black screen in a darkened room without even a pin point of light? While she was able to learn and do some things on her own, she remained largely dependent upon others to assist her in life. Helen had to learn about life as a sightless person.
As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man learned that Jesus was passing by. The blind man hollered out to get Jesus’ attention. Jesus ordered that the man be brought to Him. Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me see again.” Jesus said, “Receive your sight, your faith has made you whole.” He followed Jesus and the man and the entire crowd praised God.
All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small,
all things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all.
God gave us eyes to see them, and lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty , who has made all things well.
Gracious God, we thank You for the precious gift of sight and for the marvels of modern medicine which improve if not restore the vision of many. Help us always to appreciate the ability to see. Keep us mindful that some people like Phil can see in other ways than with their eyes. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.