When I was younger, I prided myself in my “perfect” eyesight. I thought it was an impressive thing that I had 20/20 vision and presumed that it would stay like that for a long time. God had different plans and eventually I received a prescription for glasses. However, even then my glasses didn’t really seem “necessary.” I could still see just fine for the most part and didn’t quite understand why I needed them, except for the fact that the doctor thought it might help. It wasn’t until a different doctor explained to me that he thought I had a stigmatism that it began to make sense. When I looked straight on at something, things were crisp and clear. It was the edges of my field of view that were fuzzy. My eyes were straining even though I wasn’t aware that they were.*
Over the past year, I have learned that this propensity isn’t just limited to the things I see with my eyes, but how I view life. When I look at things straight on, I can think I have a clear understanding of what’s going on. However, the edges are fuzzy. I don’t understand how God is working in the peripheral to bring about His good pleasure (Phil. 2:13). I can become so intent at looking at the hard things, that I miss the blessings that He has brought. I get so focused on getting through the bad, that I forget to see the good.
That is why, over the past year, the following verse has resonated in my heart time and time again:
I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. (Psalm 27:13, NIV)
There are two parts to this verse:
- “I remain confident of this” – The first question I had to ask myself is whether I had this confidence. This isn’t to say that I doubted God’s goodness; I didn’t. But there had been moments in the past few years where I’ve been so focused on the goodness that was to come in eternity, that my confidence of the goodness I would see in this life was lacking. God has prepared a wonderful future for His children, but He also desires to give good gifts to them now (Mat. 7:11). Am I remaining confident in the goodness that He will provide?
- “I will see the goodness of the Lord” – One of the things that acquiring glasses taught me is that we can think we are seeing clearly, when really we aren’t. Just like my glasses help “train” my eyes to view things with greater clarity, I had to train myself to see God’s goodness, even when it wasn’t where my attention naturally focused. God is always at work in His children’s lives – and that means that He is actively purposing to bring about good for them. Am I seeing the goodness of the Lord or am I so focused on other things that I’m missing it?
God’s goodness in our lives may look a lot different than we expected. Sometimes it means that dreams and plans we had don’t happen when we anticipated. It may mean that the roads He takes us down leads us in unanticipated directions. But as we remain confident in His plan, and the goodness that He brings, we can see Him even in the twists and turns, and over time, the edges become less fuzzy as we see His hand in it all.
*This is my admittedly amateur understanding of my stigmatism. If you are an optometrist, my apologies for how I may have butchered the actual diagnosis.