Inside our eyes, we have a natural lens which bends (refracts) light rays that come into the eye to help us see. The lens should be clear but as we age, normal proteins in the lens start to break down and the lens starts to get cloudy and light scatters throughout the eye instead of focusing properly on the retina. This clouding of the lens is called a cataract and it is like looking through a foggy or dusty car windshield. Things look blurry, hazy and less colorful. It may also cause double vision and being light sensitive.
I have developed cataracts on both eyes and have trouble with double vision. After an exam at the Glacier Eye Clinic in Kalispell, the ophthalmologist recommended starting with my right eye, for not only was there a cataract, but a film that had formed on my retina which was also causing blurry vision and contributing to the double vision by distorting the retina. On October 15, I had surgery on the right eye. The doctor first removed the cloudy natural lens and replaced it with an artificial lens, called an “intraocular lens.” Then he made little incisions and went in and peeled off the filmy layer on my retina. I had to wear an eye patch for a day and then retuned to have it removed at a post-op exam. Already the retina had begun to flatten back out, which was a good sign. I still have quite a bit of blurriness and see quite a few “bugs” flying around (floaters), but hopefully that will improve over the next weeks. I go back this Wednesday to have a stitch removed (sounds like fun!). It was amazing when the patch was removed to see how bright and white things appeared. My left eye saw the things as rather yellowish and green that my right eye now saw—though a bit blurry— as bright white and blue!
Matthew records a lesson Jesus gave in His “Sermon on the Mount” (Mt. 5-7) about laying up treasure in heaven rather than on earth, “for where your treasure is there will your heart be also” (Mt. 6:19-21). Then, in that context, Jesus said: “The lamp of the body is the eye; if therefore your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But, if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is your darkness!” (vv. 22,23).
The eyes were looked upon by the ancients as the windows through which light entered the body. If the eyes were in good condition, the whole body was lit up and receptive to the benefits that light can bestow; but if the eyes were bad, the whole body was plunged into darkness that breeds disease. Jesus, using this language metaphorically, affirms that if a man’s spiritual sense is healthy and his affections directed toward heavenly treasure, his whole character will be healthy, but if that spiritual sense (world view) is clouded by a false sense of values (putting temporal things ahead of eternal things), it will bring darkness to his whole character. When our view of spiritual things and spiritual values is distorted we cannot see anything else with a proper perspective. That is the case of everyone who has yet to put his/her trust in Christ as personal Savior and receive new life in Him. We need to have the “Divine Ophthalmologist” remove our clouded “natural lens” and replace them with a new “intraocular lens” so that we can see clearly with eternity’s values in view. Only with Christ in us can we see things from God’s viewpoint and that comes especially from spending time in His Word, now with the indwelling Holly Spirit to illuminate that Word to us. As we read Scripture we need to pray with the Psalmist: “Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Thy law” (Psa. 119:18). The Psalmist continued: “Oh, how I love Thy law! It is my meditation all the day. Thy commandments make me wiser than my enemies for they are ever mine. I have more insight than all my teachers. For Thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the aged, because I have observed Thy precepts…Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path…The unfolding of Thy word gives light; it gives understanding to the simple” (Psa. 119:97-100,105,130).
The only way to remove a cataract is with surgery to have your natural lens replaced with a new, clear lens. No amount of eye exercises or eye drops can correct your vision. Similarly, the only way we can remove the distorted vision caused by our old, sinful flesh, is to come to Christ, admit our inability to change our sinful lives and to ask Him for the new birth through Christ and his death, burial and resurrection. Then we are made new creatures in Christ (II Cor. 5:17), receive the divine nature (II Pet. 1:4) and can finally see clearly spiritually. Things also become much “brighter and more colorful.” We suddenly can see the real beauty of the handiwork of our amazing Creator.
But we still have the capacity to sin, for our old nature is not totally removed until we receive our glorified body, so we tend to allow the temptations of the world and the flesh and the devil to begin to once again cloud our vision. Sometimes after having cataract surgery, a person’s vision may, over time, again become hazy. This is due to the capsule part of your eye that holds the artificial intraocular lens becoming cloudy. This does not require cataract surgery again, but can be treated with a laser to open the cloudy capsule and restore clear vision. Similarly, as Christians, when we sin and cloud up our vision, we don’t need to get saved again, but rather to confess (agree with God concerning) our sin and thank God for His forgiveness through the shed blood of Jesus Christ (I Jn. 1:8-2:2).
So, how is your spiritual vision? Is it blurred, distorted, seeing double (trying to both serve God and material things)? Or do you see clearly?