I wear contacts.
Let me rephrase that: I often (read “usually”) wear one contact in my right eye.
I can’t explain the technical reason why, but basically, my right eye is weaker than my left and the vision in my left is not that terrible. It gets irritated every time I wear a contact in it, so I just wear the one on most occasions, and my eyes work things out between themselves.
Something else I often do is function in autopilot mode – mostly when I am doing a task that is a regular part of my day, like brushing my teeth or putting in my contacts … I mean, contact … and removing the same.
Recently I was going through my nightly routine, but when I tried to take my contact out, it didn’t feel quite right. I couldn’t get it to separate from the surface of my eyeball. Here’s a little info for those of you who don’t wear contacts: sometimes they will get dry and kind of stick to the eyeball, and it usually requires applying some eyedrops to loosen it up – which I had already done. But I was still struggling to get the crazy thing off my eye. I thought I had it one time and even saw it pulling out a bit from my eye, but it just would not let go.
Suddenly, as I touched my eye again, it registered with my brain that my eye didn’t really feel like the contact was there.
It was at that point that I recalled thinking my vision had seemed a little off throughout the day. So I looked closer at my very red and irritated eye and could not see the contact covering my iris. Then I looked at my left eye.
Yeah … I found my contact.
The first thought that came to my brain was, “Did I almost pull off my cornea?!” (Probably not. I would have to ask my optometrist.)
Then I thought, “I am not telling a soul about this!” (Shortly thereafter, I told my husband.)
And then I thought what my sweet friend and co-worker Hannah would say to me: “There’s got to be a blog in that!”
Now they had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. And he cautioned them, saying, “Watch out; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” And they began discussing with one another the fact that they had no bread. And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” They said to him, “Twelve.” “And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” And they said to him, “Seven.” And he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?” – (Mark 8:14-21)
Do you ever find yourself sitting in judgment on the folks from the Bible? I mean, Adam and Eve had one – ONE – rule to follow, and they couldn’t even do that! And those rebellious Israelites in the days of the judges would find themselves in a mess, and then God would send a judge to get them out of it, but as soon as the judge died or rode off into the sunset, it’s like they forgot all about what God had just brought them through! To quote Judges 17:6 and 21:25 – “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”
Even better (worse?) were those disciples who spent three years under the direct tutelage of Jesus. There was “Lord-call-me-out-on-the-water-and-let-me-walk-to-You” Peter, who denied even knowing Jesus – not once, but three times in one night. Then there was the time the whole crew had asked Jesus who would be “greatest in the kingdom of heaven,” and His answer was that those humbled themselves would be honored (Matthew 18:1-4); yet only two chapters later (Matthew 20:20-21), we find James and John accompanying their mother as she asks Jesus to seat her boys on either side of Himself – places of honor – in His kingdom. (Would it be unholy to do an eye-roll?)
But I guess the one that seems almost ridiculous is that account I shared from Mark 8. These men had seen Jesus perform miracles of unimaginable proportions! They had seen Him heal people from diseases, disabilities, and disorders; He had cast out demons as the creatures screeched for mercy from the One who could command them into the abyss; they had seen Him calm the stormy seas with His very words! In the passage above, they had just witnessed with their own eyes (and full stomachs) as Jesus had taken literally next to nothing and fed thousands of people – with leftovers! And that wasn’t even the first time! Why in the world were they concerned about bread?
Do you ever wonder if God originated the idea of the face-palm when dealing with those people?
Or maybe He created it knowing that 2000 years later, we humans would still be seeing His miraculous creation and not see Him in it. That we would watch a sonogram of an unborn baby sucking his or her thumb and not be in utter awe and amazement at life in the earliest stages. Or we would look at the night sky and see innumerable stars overhead and think that somehow, over some unknown and vast measure of time, they all just kind of … happened. Or that we could dare to imagine that we could even take a single breath without the Creator giving it to us.
Yeah … He probably created the face-palm for us.
And yes, I mean the ones who claim to have put our faith in Him.
You see, we claim to trust Him to know what is best for our children – but not enough to follow His instructions about how to raise them. We claim to follow Him – unless that means moving to a different country, or state … or neighborhood. We say we want God to guide our decisions about the car we drive the job we have and everything we do – except when it comes to how many children we have … or even if we have any. We make big claims about how much we love God and how we want to serve Him – as long as His plan meshes with the one we have for ourselves.
By now you may be wondering what any of this has to do with me trying to remove my cornea with my bare fingers.
That’s valid. It surely does not seem to connect in any way. So let me see if I can clarify.
We expect God to do certain things for us, to be involved in particular aspects of our lives, like when we need help after we wind up in dire circumstances – either through no fault of our own or because we knowingly walked outside of His instructions. We expect Him to act in ways that we are accustomed to seeing Him work to meet the needs of others, whether that be through certain ministries or agencies or whatever – but not through us personally. We expect God to act like the God we are comfortable with … the One who stays in the safe boxes we have created for Him – not the God who destroys evil kingdoms or speaks to the unacceptable or touches the icky or calls out the self-righteous – or tells us to lay down our own lives and take up a cross.
So here is my challenge to you today. Don’t get into autopilot mode when it comes to your relationship with the God of the universe. Don’t miss Him at work because you were expecting Him to do or say something different, or because you were thinking He would look or speak in a way you are accustomed to seeing and hearing Him.
Don’t miss out on what He has for you because you don’t see Him at first glance. Maybe you’re looking in the wrong eye.