“Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized.” Acts 9:18 (NIV)
In anticipation of 2020, there was a battle cry at many new year’s celebrations: vision. Not only was it a new year; it was a new decade! Most of us had a hopeful feeling about it.
For me, this year started out great. Some new opportunities were opening up. My nephews’ basketball team won the state championship in their division. Another nephew was making plans for graduation while enjoying all the typical senior year activities. My husband and I would be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary and had booked a long-awaited trip to the Holy Land. The year of vision was looking good.
Until it didn’t.
By mid-March, the world was understanding more about a quickly spreading virus. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing on the news … people of all ages were falling ill, universities were canceling classes, professional sports leagues suspended their seasons, travel was limited … what was happening?
Life around us felt like a movie. Then, it started getting personal.
One by one, our plans got canceled. No more driving into the office or going to school. Working from home and virtual classrooms were now the new normal.
No Israel trip. No big anniversary celebration. No graduation or prom for my nephews. Add racial and political tensions to the mix, and it just didn’t seem like this year could get any worse for my family.
Until it did.
In mid-summer, my nephew tested positive for COVID-19. Then, the following month, my mom had a health scare. (By God’s grace, both are doing well now.)
What a year it has been so far. The year of vision appeared to be a blurry mess.
There’s a man in the Bible whose physical (and spiritual) vision was also a blurry mess. In Acts, we read the story of a young Pharisee named Saul. He was a devout Jew with his own crystal-clear vision to punish anyone who proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah. In a surprising turn of events, a voice from heaven confronted Saul while he was traveling to Damascus. A light flashed around him, and he fell to the ground. Then, “ … when he opened his eyes he could see nothing” (Acts 9:8a, NIV).
For three days, Saul was blind. During that time, there was no record that he heard from God again. A divinely appointed visit from Ananias changed that. “… Placing his hands on Saul, he said, ‘Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’ Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized” (Acts 9:17b-18 NIV).
Not only was Saul’s physical sight restored; his spiritual eyes were opened too. What happened in the natural was a reflection of what was happening in the spiritual. This man named Saul, who persecuted the church, would soon be identified as Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ.
Sometimes, we think we can see, but we’re actually blind.
The year of 2020 has blindsided many of us in more ways than we can count. But could it be, in these uncertain times, that God is also removing the scales from our eyes?
For me, my priorities have been revealed. Who were the people I stayed connected to during this year? What did I miss doing? What did I not miss doing?
Also, my faith has been exposed. Is my trust in God as strong as I thought it was? Have I wandered in worry when I should have walked in holy confidence?
Maybe this hasn’t been the year we envisioned it would be. Perhaps all the things we thought we would accomplish will have to wait until later. Here is something I do know: Just because our plans have shifted does not mean God’s plans have. He knew what this year would hold, and thankfully, He holds us in His hands.
This can still be the year of vision. One that brings to light how blind we actually are. This could also be the year the scales fall off our eyes, and we see God clearer than we ever did before.
Dear heavenly Father, I am thankful that nothing catches You by surprise. Help me to see You in every situation I encounter. Please strengthen my faith in the process. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY
Ephesians 1:18, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people.” (NIV)
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REFLECT AND RESPOND
Now that 2020 is almost over, what do you see more clearly than you did before?
How have you seen God move on your behalf during these challenging times?
We’d love to hear from you! Share your thoughts in the comments.
© 2020 by Anitha Abraham. All rights reserved.
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