I sat in the front row of my 8th grade math class and squinted at the chalkboard. A total blur. I had to face it. I needed glasses.
I’ll never forget the moment I put on my glasses for the first time. WOW! A different perspective entirely! I had no idea the details of life I had missed. They were there all the time, but I literally could not see them.
Glasses and contacts made a huge difference. Trees had leaves. Shapes had sharp edges. Colors were more vibrant. And, oh yeah, I could see in math class.
That worked great for about 35 years. But now I have another problem. As my eyeballs have aged, they have given me 2 choices:
- I can see far away (with my contacts).
- Or I can see up close (without contacts).
It was one perspective or the other—until my optometrist gave me a really weird solution.
You and I have the same challenge spiritually.
See Near or See Far—A Strange Perspective
Having worn contact lenses for years, I really didn’t want to go back to wagging around glasses just to read. But I really need to read. I felt like an 8th-grader again.
My optometrist offered a strange solution. With one eye I would read and with the other I would see far away. At first, this sounded nuts.
Wouldn’t that make everything blurry?
But the doctor explained that in time my brain would “rewire” my vision to where I didn’t notice the blur any more. Everything would get clear.
You know what? It is beginning to work.
My two eyeballs got me thinking of the perspective in our spiritual lives.
Perspective Near and Far—A Spiritual Tension
I wonder if the Apostle Peter needed glasses. He used the eyes as metaphors for what we focus on—both near and far.
Peter clearly urges us to pay attention to our daily lives—to the things near. Having listed essential qualities of spiritual maturity, the apostle tells us the only way we will be “neither useless nor unfruitful” is “if these qualities are yours and are increasing” (2 Peter 1:8).
At the same time we keep one eye on our daily lives in Christ, a balanced perspective requires we keep another eyeball on the things far away—on eternal things. Peter reminds us why:
For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. —2 Peter 1:9
The term shortsighted literally means nearsighted. In fact, from Peter’s original word we get the word “myopia.” That was me in 8th grade.
Spiritual myopia can blur your life and mine too. How?
Peter says we’re in danger of shortsightedness when we forget our salvation. He literally writes that this type of Christian has deliberately put out of his or her mind the sins that would have brought condemnation.
In a word? It has to do with gratitude. If we forget about what Jesus did for us—even for a moment—we can’t see straight.
How to Keep a Perspective Both Near and Far
Seeing today’s activities with an eternal perspective gives us a realistic view. Look at how Peter worded it:
Though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls. —1 Peter 1:8-9
Honestly, my eyeballs still struggle. My brain is still “rewiring” my vision to see both near and far. It gets better every day—but it will take time. I can’t use just one eye. It takes both.
The same is true of us spiritually. We have to keep both eyes open.
Question: What helps you see both near and far? To leave a comment, just click here.
This post is adapted from Wayne’s book, Waiting on God: What to Do When God Does Nothing.
• What do you do when the life God has promised you looks nothing like the life he has given you?
• If you find yourself waiting on God—or if you don’t know what God wants you to do next—this book offers a wise and practical guide to finding hope and peace in life’s difficult pauses.
You will discover what to do when it seems God does nothing.