<%@ Page Language="VB" ContentType="text/html" ResponseEncoding="iso-8859-1" %> Untitled Document THE GIFT OF SIGHT

Blindness is one of the great tragedies of life. Living in a world of total darkness is something we cannot really comprehend. I am sure that some of us have known people who have been struck with blindness but have adapted well, live useful, productive lives and appear to be happy. They have developed other senses and talents to compensate for their blindness.

There is another type of blindness which binds the man in misery, despair and hopelessness and, in a sense, is as tragic (if not more so) as physical blindness. We speak of spiritual, mental, or emotional blindness. A person afflicted with this is ensnared in self-pity, despair, gloom and a sense of hopelessness -- all because he does not know how to look for (or will not see) the things around him that can give peace, joy, comfort and meaning to life. Let me tell you of an experience that taught me the great lesson of "sight."

In west-central Georgia where I lived for a few years, there is a beautiful place called Callaway Gardens -- over 2,500 acres of natural, culitivated beauty. For exercise, I took daily walks there. Spring and summer brought abundant hues of blossoms and flowers. The gentle breeze carried the fragrant scent of flowers as wisps of vapor throughout the beautiful woods and meandering trails.

Gradually, however, the beauty of summer gave way to the law of change in nature. The trees and shrubs were steadily stripped of their foliage and the flowers faded away. Soon the naked trees appeared stark, dreary and lifeless -- especially on a dark and dismal day.

About that time of year, may moods and feelings blended with the bleak and empty scenes of the woods around me. All of my children had recently married, and the scenes of the woods around me, and the sense of loss and loneliness was overwhelming. To make matters worse, I was suffering pain
as the result of an auto accident and was required to undergo therapy three times a week. This had a way of sapping not only my physical vitality, but my mental and emotional as well. It was this matter of "seeing," however, that brought about a change in me and helped me to overcome my despondency.

It happened on a cold, drizzling, late November day, I was in a dismal mood as I walked through the woods when suddenly I saw a tall bush with leaves on it of green, yellow and purple. Further on I saw more -- a beautiful variety of hues and colors, as if they were telling me, "Look at the beauty in us, not at your drab surroundings." My mind and spirit responded.

The longer I looked at the beauty of those bushes, the more oblivious I became to the bleak surroundings about me. It was as if they were saying to me, "Receive the blessings from the beauty we offer you, for it is your blessing from God." Soon my mind and heart responded and my spirit was
uplifted. I went back again and again and absorbed the beauty as some great delicacy that is to be relished with a feeling of thrill, excitement and wonder.

The leaves faded and fell in time, but the warm, uplifting memories lingered on and brought joy and happiness to my heart, changing my life for the better.

What made the difference? Looking at, determining to see right things! And realizing that God's love provides things in nature as a source of peace and contentment. We can look about us, see a world of sorrow, misery, suffering and cruelty and our hearts can fail us, our lives can become miserable --
because we look at things that are miserable and allow them to have negative effects on us. Our minds dwell on the things we see and eventually affect us accordingly.

Think seriously about the words of Christ: "And because iniquity shall abound; the love of many shall wax cold" (Matt. 24:12). They look at the evil and wickedness about them and eventually it destroys their faith and the beauty of life because they fail to look in the right direction and see the frand, wonderful, beautiful blessings. God offers them.

We are to "Run with patience the race that is set before us." But we cannot succeed if we only look at the evil around us and allow that to affect our thinking. How are we assured success? We are to "look unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith" (Heb. 12:1,2). As the Psalmist said, "Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary" (Psa. 96:6). And we are to "worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness" (vs. 9). Thus, looking to Jesus we see absolute, divine beauty. In Him we can find "beauty of holiness" in daily living. Whatever we look at and determine to "see" will determine the quality of life we will have.

We can have the "peace that passeth all understanding" that will "keep our hearts and minds." But it does not come from human origin or surroundings...It "passes all understanding" because it comes from a higher source, wisdom and power than anything earthly. It is "through Christ Jesus." Things that are honest, just, lovely, of good report, "we must think on these things!" (Phil. 4:7,8).

As I saw the evidence of God's greatness, love and power in those shrubs that had the leaves of beautiful hues of color, I soon lost sight of the dreary, gloomy surroundings and my heart and soul received strength, joy and comfort. I thought of the goodness, greatness and the love of God and I realized and received the "peace that passeth all understanding." And all because I looked for and saw those things that afford such blessings.

Dear reader, there is always something beautiful and wonderful God has provided for us. It abounds all around us. But sight is the important factor in determining the quality of mind and life. Only if we are determined to look for and see these wonderous gifts of God will we receive His true blessings.

By Leo Rogol.

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