Wednesday, June 02, 2010

I once was blind but now I see

This is part two of my friend Mary Grace's account of the accident that caused her to lose sight in her left eye.  Better have some tissues on hand, dear readers.

During my stay in the hospital, I had an ophthalmology team, an infectious disease team, a neurology team, a cardiology team, an ER team, an internist team, and last but not least, a psychiatric team! The thing that puzzled me most about the psych team was their desire to make it acceptable for me to blame someone for my accident. They asked many probing questions, coming at me from many different angles, trying to get me to admit that I blamed myself or my son for what happened.

I didn’t understand this whole obsession with needing to blame someone for an accident like this. They reminded me that it would be okay for me to blame my son since he had insisted I keep the walking stick. This was almost amusing. All I could do was explain (again and again) that I had made it my career in life to tell my children “No,” and that as the adult, I could have chosen to put that stick down at any time. Why would I blame a nine year old kid who had given me a really cool gift?! And why would I blame myself? I’m fairly coordinated, I rarely trip, and the root I fell over was completely covered by leaves!

Unfortunately for my very learned panel of mental health specialists, I had another take on why this happened to me. It happened because it was God’s will that it happen. I know that sounds radical to some, but God is sovereign. Period.

There really are no mistakes. Even if human mistakes were made in my treatment, they were ordained by God. The Bible says that God plans all things for our good. Regardless of whether or not I understand it, I know this to be true. There is no one to blame. Could God restore my eyesight? Of course. Right now, however, it’s for my good that I am without it.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

Is this going to be easy for me? No. Am I going to get frustrated? Yes. Am I going to cry and feel like I’ll never be the same? Oh yes! I remember shortly after it all happened it hit me that I was going to be like this the rest of my life – and I just started sobbing. My 17 year old daughter held me like a baby for more than an hour. How bad can things really be when you see God’s comforting hand through your children?!

Mercifully, I am sustained by knowing that I have a God who is always looking out for me, knows what’s best for me, and is working everything out according to a plan that I can never hope to fully understand.

I know there are people out there, Christians included, who believe that when bad things happen, God means it to be a punishment. If God meant this to be punishment for sin in my life, I wouldn’t have one working body part left. I don’t have NEAR enough eyes to make up for all the sin I’ve accrued in my almost 50 years on this earth! I’d really just have to be instantly vaporized.

It’s shocking to me how God has already used this seemingly random, horrible accident for His glory. Through a prayer group my 14 year old daughter set up for me on Facebook, I have received amazing comments and letters, many writing to tell me my story has helped them draw nearer to Christ. One comment was from an 18 year old staff member at a local camp, who shared that he had been walking away from Christ. Through this testimony and other things God had recently put in his life, he decided to recommit himself to the Lord. Another woman’s mother had lost her eye at an early age, and since she heard about my accident she has grown closer to both God and her mother.

Nothing is without reason in God’s economy. Everything is for the good. If one more person could spend an eternity in Heaven as a result of my injury, then how important is an eye, really?

All I have, and ultimately all I’m left to, is childlike faith. Don’t ever underestimate it. In the last few months that faith has kept me strong during some unspeakable things. Many of the details of this whole ordeal are harrowing at best, yet many of those same details would also cause your heart to soar! God was there. He was in EVERY detail.

Trauma brings razor-sharp clarity. I see sovereignty now as a gift from God. I now understand that this is the root of all comfort and peace for His people. I know this happened for a reason, and it’s God’s plan to do good with my situation. And yours, whatever it may be.

Sometimes we have to stop relying on ourselves and give ourselves over to the One who is sovereign. I was truly held up by the presence of God that day, and since. I didn’t hear Him, I didn’t see Him, but I knew He was there. I can’t help but wonder if He hasn’t just gifted me with a very obvious story and blatant reminder of who is – and who will always be – in control. What happened to me was traumatic, to say the least, but how much worse would it have been to go through it alone?!

I often wonder how anyone gets through life without God. The utter futility of it all would just kill me!

My son and I haven’t been back to our bench yet, but we intend to go soon. What a blessed spot that will be for us – the place where God sat me down for a moment to dwell on His gifts, His sunshine, knowing full well that I would soon be on my knees – being drawn ever closer to Him.

If God desires that my last full view of the world was in the woods that day, then I just gotta tell you it was smashingly beautiful!

I may now be half blind, but like Bartimaeus, in the book of Matthew, I have never before seen so clearly.

Thank you all so very much for traveling down this bumpy wooded path I call faith. We are God’s people, His plans are good, and our God is sovereign! Praise be to God!

Miss part one?  Find it here.