Let me ask you a question.
When’s the last time someone or something poked you in the eye? There’s nothing quite like having someone’s fat finger or protruding headpiece swing around and… well, poke you right in the retina.
The outcome is predictable. Involuntarily closure of the eye lids and tears begin to flow. Vision is blurred and sight is temporarily lost. The vulnerability of those few moments is hard to explain, unless you are like me and have experienced a digit or two in your eyeball; in that case you know exactly my point.
What am I trying to say? Sometimes we not only get poked in the eye, but we also get poked in the soul (injuries, tragedies, unexplainable circumstances, failures, etc.). Getting poked in the soul hurts. Soul pokes cause loss not only with sight but vision. Vision loss is the the most common barrier that keeps humanity living in fear. There is an undeniable correlation between vision and fear.
Better said, losing your spiritual sight leads to cowardice.
Allow someone to blindfold you and you will be reminded of the undeniable correlation between vision and fear. Children often remind us of the most profound spiritual truths. Monsters come out from under the bed when the lights are turned out at night. It’s fear of the unknown and fear of the unseen that drives actors in scary movies to walk slowly through the house whimpering in a whispered scream; “Hello, is anybody there?” Vision brings valor. On the contrary, light yields love (courageous love).
Amazing Grace has been such a powerful cultural connector for generations: “I was blind but now I see.” Jesus came to bring sight to the blind. He came to restore spiritual vision and to help the poked soul. He also came to intentionally blind those who think they see. There is a time and place where fear is wisdom. But that’s another post.
Let’s cut to to the mustard.
What if we learned how to thrive even in the midst of the darkness? I believe we can. When the lights go out, that’s when God wants to shine in us and through us the most. That’s what Paul the Apostle meant when he said “we live by faith and not by sight.” Fear fails miserably when vision is restored. One of the clear goals of discipleship is to gain the ability to see in the dark. It’s not x-ray vision, but a super power nonetheless. Jesus wants us to be able to see in the dark. He wants us to have hope in the hurt. When the sun becomes visible again, the joy returns.
Jesus proclaimed: “I have been sent to bring recovery of sight to the blind.” It’s impossible to overestimate the focus of Jesus’s ministry to restore spiritual vision to anyone who was willing to follow Him. We all know that vision leaks and with it courage.
Allow me to offer three axioms that will stir up our courage to overcome the fear that accompanies getting poked in the soul:
- Be intentional about what you see. What you see is what you get. Read that last phrase again slowly. Our first assignment each morning is to set our gaze. Where the eyes go, the soul will follow. The eye as the scriptures says is the lamp of the body. If the eyes are full of light, the whole body will be healthy. The contrast is also nightmarishly true. Pay attention to what the mind’s eyes is focusing on. What you imagine consistently will become your reality.
- Embrace the value of vision over sight. “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” Helen Keller’s point is well stated. Not all who see have vision. Therefore not all who see walk bravely. We must have visionary and spiritual eyes to live an uncommonly courageous life. Do the hard work of adopting a vision for your life. If I had to choose, I’d choose vision over sight all day any day.
- Bravery is not the absence of all fear. John Wayne said, “Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway.” I love that. In reality, bravery can’t exist without something or someone which invokes fear. Bravery is defined by those who can move forward anyway. Bravery is not the absence of all fear, it is however the presence of mustard seed faith. True faith quenches fear in the light of His faithfulness.
Next time you get poked in the soul. Remember, that some symptoms are involuntary and chaotic. Tears, blurring, closing off, etc, but even when you lose your sight, you don’t have to give up your vision. Sight is natural. Vision is supernatural. Sight is about what you can see. Vision is about your perspective. Sight may come and go depending on circumstances. But vision depends on the light within, which can never be extinguished.
Question: When’s the last time you got poked in the soul? What will you do the next time you are poked in the soul?
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