I’ve worn contact lenses most of my life.
I was fifteen years of age when my world suddenly began to get fuzzy, and eighteen when my doctor diagnosed Keratoconus, a condition that alters the shape of the cornea and causes severe short-sight.
So I went from wearing thick glasses to popping these tiny little gadgets into my eyes.
I remember the exact moment my doctor inserted that first pair into my eyes, shiny pieces of glassy plastic, greenish in colour. And the strange sensation I felt, when I “saw” my parents clearly, for the first time in years, that day at his clinic.
I was jolted by the sudden clarity of my world, and quite excited at the same time. But it felt like someone had taken little pebbles and stuck them into my eyes – I just couldn’t stop blinking!
“If this doesn’t work,” the doctor said gravely, “we will have to consider a corneal transplant.”
Not all Keratoconus patients are able to use contacts, we learnt, and undergoing surgery to replace the damaged cornea, with a donated one, is sometimes an option.
And later that morning, as we rode down the elevator, I saw the worry etched deep in my father’s eyes.
“If this doesn’t work,” he said quietly, “I will donate to you one of my corneas.”
That’s when I understood the gravity of the matter.
Thankfully, my eyes adjusted well to the gadgets, and I wore them in my last year of high school, throughout Uni and into my adult years.
I don’t know about other contact lens users, but one of the issues I faced constantly was recurrent eye infections. And an infection equals no contact lenses – it’s just too painful to have that little gadget rub constantly against an infected eye.
So this one time, suffering from an infection and exasperated that I could not see the lyrics on my favourite DVD, I decided to skip my daily worship session altogether.
“I’m so sorry Lord, but I can’t wake up tomorrow morning to worship You,” I offered.
But the Lord wouldn’t have it.
“Yes you can,” I heard in my spirit.
“But Lord, how will I worship You without my contacts?” I asked.
I didn’t know most of the songs by heart, and couldn’t imagine how I would express myself in worship, minus the ability to see and sing the lyrics.
I will never forget the Lord’s reply. One word:
Meaning, “Are those without sight not able to worship Me?”
It was a moment of revelation for me.
So, early the next morning I woke up and decided to worship the Lord – not only as He had challenged me – like someone who could not see – but also like one who could not hear, could not speak and could not move.
No music, no lyrics, no movement, not a sound from my lips.
Just a pure, sincere, flow of love, from deep within my spirit, into the heart of the Father.
As soon as I began to worship that morning, Brethren, softly, quietly in my spirit, I found myself immediately surrounded by His wonderful, unmistakable Presence. I am a worshiper, and the manifest Presence of the Lord is no stranger to me – but in all my days, I have never experienced it quite so quickly!
Soft waves of His magnificent Presence breathed gently on my spirit, the moment I began to praise and worship Him, kneeling there, on the floor of my prayer room. It was glorious!
I had touched the heart of the Father.
I learnt a lesson that day Brethren – the heart of God is but a gentle prayer away.
A few days later, the infection cleared, I was quite ready to put my lenses back in. But to my surprise, the Lord stopped me.
“Not yet,” He said.
He was asking me to put them aside for some time and trust Him.
So I did.
And for the next few months, I kept my contacts afar and depended on the Lord’s direction for almost everything.
I couldn’t see well of course, having been dependent on contacts since my teens, so I slowly began to rely on His voice instead.
Most mornings, if my hubby wasn’t there to help, I would start my day with a quiet conversation with the Lord.
What should I wear? I would ask. Is it clean, does it need ironing? Does it match with this? Little details that I previously took for granted.
And on several occasions, concerned that I would not be able to identify our kids during their school events, I would seek His help before I got there.
“Lord,” I would say, “please show me my child.”
And He would.
“See that little girl running towards you? That’s yours,” He would say.
He was my eyes.
And many a time, He would even throw in a nice surprise.
“Wear your cream suit,” He instructed one morning, as I prepared to attend our little girl’s end-of-term party.
It was a small event, I thought, just an opportunity to clap for the little ones and encourage them, as they moved from Kindergarten to higher heights.
The suit was a beautiful but formal one, and I hesitated to wear it, thinking I would be over-dressed for the occasion. So I settled on toning it down a tad, by pairing it with plain brown shoes, rather than the matching gold heels I usually wore it with.
I didn’t know it, but the Lord had something special for me that day.
Without warning, in the middle of the event, the school principal scanned the audience, singled me out and asked me to join her on the podium, to present awards to our little graduands.
Ah friends.. who is like our God? Wasn’t I glad I hadn’t worn my scruffy jeans that morning!
At other times, if I had to attend an event alone, I would reach out to the Lord as soon as I arrived. For some reason, I was fearful of not recognizing people I already knew, and felt very insecure not knowing who was there and who was not.
So I would pray; “Lord, please send me a friend.”
And he would. Every, single time. Someone would simply walk up to me and ease my way in, without even knowing it.
I learnt a lot during that time – to deeply and reverently connect with the Father, to step out in faith knowing, for sure, that He would only be a step away, to seek and hear His voice, even in the tiniest of matters.
I treasured those moments; and because the Lord had asked me to put away my lenses, I was filled, too, with the hope that He would heal my eyes, and that I would eventually be able to see clearly without my contact lenses.
I prayed fervently for this, and still do, even as I prepare to go back to using them now, so many years later. And I know that the Lord may well hear my prayer.
But even though he doesn’t – if His plan for my life does not include perfect vision – I will still continue to trust in Him.
Yes Brethren, with my very life, I will.
For He is more than worthy!
Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him..