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Points to Ponder: Blinded by the Blessings?
Points to Ponder
Blinded by the Blessings?
Sitting around the table one evening we got to discussing Braille. It was mentioned in Elizabeth's class, a topic within a story the children were reading. Marcella and I told her about a girl we knew who was blinded as a small child and now reads Braille, plays the piano, and does a number of remarkable things--she can even ride a bike!
I got to wondering about this amazing communication method. Is it possible for a sighted person to learn Braille? Or would the ability to see be a hindrance? Have you ever touched those little raised dots alongside a room number or an elevator button? I wonder to myself, how does a blind person read this? What does it say, how does it appear in the mind of a person who can't see?
Having eyesight is a blessing, a gift. And as I reflected on the idea of whether such a blessed person could learn Braille, I thought of the deeper truth this whole question illustrates. Sometimes our blessings are a hindrance to learning, even to growing. The idea that having the "advantage" of sight can actually limit my ability to learn is a point worth pondering.
How many of us are stunted by our blessings? Think of how harried, busy, and expensive Christmas is for many of us. If we weren't so wealthy would we have the options to do so much? In simpler times, when folks had very little except each other, there was a joy, which is still recalled with a smile decades later. Wealth is wearing us out!
How about the schedules so many kids are running with--or that are running them. Why so many sports, so many activities, so many "opportunities?" What a blessing to be so talented and to have parents with deep enough pockets (or ample plastic) to pay for it all. But what is all this blessedness robbing from us? Do you ever just stay home and play a board game, or just talk?
It brings me back to the blind who have learned Braille and can read. The vast majority of the world's population, including its most brilliant scholars and scientists, presidents and kings, award-winning actors and writers, can not read Braille. If all the lights went out, all of the aforementioned would suddenly be left disabled.
But the blind person would be the most enabled to navigate his way through the situation. How did he come to know that? He had to. Unencumbered by the limits of sight, he learned how to find a path through the dark. Because the blind are trained by the dark, they learn how to "see" through it. They can read the signs that the more advantaged (so-called) cannot see. Can a sighted person learn Braille? Or would the blessing of eyesight be a distraction?
I recall a story about the late great hymn writer Fanny Crosby. Blinded as a child by the treatment of an incompetent doctor, she learned to be more sensitive to the Spirit's promptings as songs came to her mind. She thanked God for her blindness, saying that it was a gift that freed her from the temptations and sinful distractions a sighted person must endure. Without the hindrance of eyesight, she could focus more sharply on composing the hymns that glorify God--to this day they still do. Imagine that. Being thankful for a "handicap," because it made her stronger. Praising God for a "disability" because having it enabled her to commune with God on a level she might not otherwise have known.
Paul speaks of his "thorn in the flesh." I believe the Holy Spirit intentionally kept him from specifying what, or who, that thorn was. In this way, any of us can take the principle given and apply it.
And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (II Corinthians 12:9-10)
From an eternal perspective, there are some things (even very good things) which we can afford to lose; because there's something better we need to receive. But if we view our blessings as entitlements, we become complacent idolaters-embracing ideas about God, which are unworthy of Him. Also we elevate ourselves to a level from which we will surely fall--and fall hard.
Are you distracted by the blessings? What of any of it is truly yours--and for how long?
Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. (I Timothy 6:6-7)
Jesus puts life in proper perspective--the eternal perspective.
He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor. (John 12:25-26)
Can a sighted person learn Braille? Perhaps if they approached it as a blind person does, then they could learn to see as a blind person can see.
What is it today that keeps you from seeing?
This column can be found on the web at: www.fumcl.org. Pastor Whitmore is not affiliated with Picket News, nor does he submit material directly to our publication. We regularly reprint interesting articles found at his public web site and encourage all readers to visit for similar material.
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