How well can you see?

Hearing the phrase, “This is 20/20” has been a staple of American life for decades as the TV Show 20/20 made it popular. And on December 31, 2019, Barbara Walters’ famous voice rang in the new year finally bringing the reality that “This is 2020!” to all of us!

well played, 2020… well played…

The phrase we’d been hearing for decades became a reality that we won’t soon forget either!

“This is 2020.”

And I know many people feel that way… played by 2020.

Looking back a year ago, do you remember how it started? Did you feel this was your year? Were good things on the horizon? Did you have big hopes, dreams, plans, aspirations?

How’d that work out? Because as far as I can tell 2020 has quickly become a 4 letter number cuss word. We’re done with it. Over it. Want to shut the door and never look back.

So much for perfect vision… you know, the turn of the phrase 20/20 equating its meaning to perfect vision. Yeah… so much for that perfect vision, 2020. 

Unless…

Hm. I think I need to tell a story, a story about vision and how sometimes you don’t know how much you can’t see until you can.

In 2016 I got a strange call from the school nurse. “Mrs Narraway, I wanted to talk to you about Avari’s eye exam. She had strange results. We will retest her in a few months.” Huh, that was a first! But we all have bad eyesight so I guess that’s not so surprising.

A few months later when Avari was almost 6, a new eye test at school, same result: an unusual eye exam. Time to see an optometrist. And then it happened, I sat at the eye doctor thinking, “Am I sitting next to a crazy person?” Does that sound dramatic? Maybe a bit, but I finally understood what “unusual results” actually meant.

My girl, who had known her letters and numbers for years, sat in the exam chair seeming as if she had never seen letters or numbers or shapes before in her life. If the row had 4 letters, she would read 6 or 3… it was crazy. If the letter was T and she would read O. All sorts of thoughts rushed through my mind as I tried to imagine what was wrong!

Finally the eye doctor clued me in: Avari was in severe need of corrected lenses. But I was confused! How could we not know her vision was so impaired? She never complained she couldn’t see, she never squinted, never strained her eyes… because she never knew how much she couldn’t see. Her vision was likely impaired since birth. She’d never known any different.

Okay, there is an answer. Cue my sigh of relief. She just needs glasses.

But the situation was a little more complicated. When the proper lenses were given to correct her vision, to give her 2020 vision, well… she couldn’t see. I remember thinking for the second time that day in the optometrist office, “What is happening?” Because with the lenses she needed to see clearly… she still couldn’t see.

Somewhere with Avari’s eyes, her brain or both, her body was rejecting the corrected vision. With 20/20 corrected lenses, she was just as blind as without, if not more so. Her prognosis? Not without hope, but a lengthy process of step-by-step incremental increases of her prescription getting closer and closer to 20/20 vision.

The thing is, the first time she put on glasses, it was like she had never seen before, because she hadn’t ever seen the world with such clarity even though she still wasn’t seeing clearly. Her new glasses came with headaches, forgetting her glasses and frustrations over the process of correcting her vision.

the process to seeing with perfect vision….

Can you see it yet? Can you find comparison in Avari’s story and your own life? Because I’m sitting here blown away…

2020 has lived up to its meaning, even when we can’t see it, even when we refuse to go there, even when we won’t admit it. Maybe we are all more like Avari than we ever knew.

God is clearing our vision.

How is that possible? 2020 was awful, stupid, nothing to speak of, filled with hardship for so many people. How can this be“perfect vision?”

Hasn’t 2020 shown us so much? What is valuable… What we’ve taken for granted… Our insecurities… Our strength and resiliency… Our dependence… Our hopes and dreams…

Sometimes we don’t know how much we can’t see until we can. 2020 stripped away so many distractions, leveled so many self-sufficiencies, revealed the things that were right in front of us that we never focused upon enough. And, honestly, this year has been an easier road to walk for some and quite the arduous journey for others.

God is cleaning our vision.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13: 8-13

It is a familiar chapter of scripture, no doubt. But what does this have to do with 2020? Think about verse 12 a little more.

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
For now [in this time of imperfection] we see in a mirror dimly [a blurred reflection, a riddle, an enigma], but then [when the time of perfection comes we will see reality] face to face. Now I know in part [just in fragments], but then I will know fully, just as I have been fully known [by God].
 
Reading the amplified version really draws us into a deeper understanding of this passage. In so many ways 2020 has shown us “this time of imperfection.” We’ve gained a greater understanding and perspective on the depths of brokenness in our own lives and in our world. 
 
Let that sit for a moment. 
 
There is another turn of phrase for 2020, “hindsight is 2020.”
 
In big ways and small, 2020 has been for many of us, like that moment when Avari sat in the exam chair and we all realized how much she couldn’t see. The process of this year has shown us how blurred our view, how broken our understanding and how inadequate our vision really has been… for a while… probably always has been!
 
And we deeply desire for God to be at work in our lives, our world and correct those problems. We want our vision fixed and that correction to take place quickly! But 2020 has also shown us that just like Avari’s vision, we aren’t ready to see perfectly instantaneously.
 
Yet God is faithfully, carefully bringing us step-by-step to a clearer view of who He is, of who we are in Him and how then we should live. 
 
“For now [in this time of imperfection] we see in a mirror dimly [a blurred reflection, a riddle, an enigma], but then [when the time of perfection comes we will see reality] face to face. Now I know in part [just in fragments], but then I will know fully, just as I have been fully known [by God].” 1 Corinthians 13:12 AMP
 
Even in this, God is drawing us closer to Himself!
 
How’s your vision? 
How has your vision grown this year?
Where are you feeling the most tension as God clarifies your view?
What will you do with your new view?
 
Moving into 2021 we’d like to turn the page and close the chapter on 2020, take a few moments to look back to see more clearly moving forward.
 
1 Corinthians 13 isn’t just a chapter on love to be quoted at weddings, it is a chapter to show us something much more: “And yet I will show you the most excellent way.”
 
God has shown us though 1 Corinthians 12-13, 1 John 4, Jesus’ life and in our own that the most excellent way is: love.
 
Moving into 2021, may God give you a clearer view of His great love for you. May you grow to know even more what it means to love God and love others. May you live loved to live love… and every day see a little more clearly!
 
~Jillene
 

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