Babies, Contact Lenses, and Visions of God

My eyesight started to worsen back in high school, but it wasn’t a big deal. By the time I was in law school, I needed glasses for driving because I couldn’t even make out the eye chart at the DMV. Eventually, I wore glasses all the time. My far distance vision stunk.

Near vision was good, though. I could read without glasses just fine. Every word was sharp on the page. The optometrist said it was because each of my eyes had an astigmatism that wouldn’t let me focus at a distance but sharpened my focus up close. That’s great for someone who likes to read. So I took my glasses of for reading.

Then we had kids. Newborn babies are easy to hold, but when they transition from infant to toddler they get grabby. It’s a wonderful feeling when your child reaches up and rubs your cheek or grabs your ear or hair. Very sweet.

When you wear glasses, it means they have something else to grab and your frames become a plaything they reach out for. Our son took my glasses off my face regularly. The regular dislodgement was cute at first. He’d knock them askew and I’d straighten them out and we’d repeat this until one of us got tired of it.

He got a little bigger, which meant a little stronger, and he was no longer knocking them askew. He was taking them right off. Not in a gentle way, but pulling them out to the side or down my nose and completely off. He bent the frame constantly. A couple times he even bent the earpiece off completely.

I took my glasses to the optometrist to get the frame repaired more than once.

When our daughter was born a couple years later I remembered my lesson about babies and eyeglasses and asked my optometrist about contact lenses. He prescribed them and I learned how to put them in and take them out: pull eyelids open vertically to lay it on the lens, pull eyelid back at the side to pop the lens out. I was good to go. Now I could see far distances, didn’t have to remember where I’d laid my glasses after taking them off for reading, and could hold our new baby without wondering when she’d start wrenching glasses off my face.

Then we were at church one night. The event was over and everyone was walking to their cars when I stopped to talk to someone. Our daughter was at the grabby stage between infancy and toddlerhood and was reaching for my face as I stood there holding her in the dimly lit parking lot. No glasses for her to bend into a pretzel, yay!

She reached up to my eye, poked her finger in at the side, and pushed my eyelid back. The contact lens then did what it was designed to do. It popped right out. Onto the asphalt. Of a large parking lot. In the dark.

So much for my plans of avoiding ruined lenses when holding little ones.

Trading Visions

I reached 40 and my vision in one eye was 300/20 and the other was 400/20. The only time my eyes could see clearly was when I brought something right up close under my nose. Otherwise I had trouble reading a clock on the wall without my contacts.

I went to an ophthalmologist and had surgery on my eyeballs. Complete success. I no longer needed glasses for driving, or even seeing clocks on walls. Everything at a distance was in sharp focus.

My near vision suffered, though, as I developed what everyone tends to get after age 40. The need for reading glasses. At first it was only when my eyes got tired but now almost 20 years later I use them for everything up close. I have pairs of reading glasses stashed throughout the house, in the glove boxes in our cars, and at work.

Me, reading, with reading glasses

I’ve traded one vision for another, near for far.

Godly Vision

God speaks of visions as well, warning against false sight …

This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord.” (Jeremiah 23:16.)

… and providing true sight.

And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days. (Joel 2:28-29, Acts 2:17-18.)

God wants to trade our false vision for true. Better than glasses, contacts or surgery, the Holy Spirit provides the ability not only to see clearly but to speak clearly of what we see. Visions of God and prophecy of God reveal God to us and to others.


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12 Responses to Babies, Contact Lenses, and Visions of God

  1. Have 20/20 vision now after cataract surgery. Great that I can drive at night!

    Also new book coming out and thanks for letting me reference you in it, sir!

  2. Jeannie Prinsen says:

    Very interesting about your various eye issues, Tim. And that lost contact lens in the parking lot!!! At least you can laugh about that now. 🙂 Glad the laser eye surgery worked for you; one of my brothers has had it too and was very happy with the results. I’m awaiting word from an eye specialist as to when I will have surgery to correct my double vision: she’ll “tuck” the eye muscles so that both eyes point the same way — a pleasant change. So if anyone asks if I’ve “had work done” I’ll be able to say yes… Anyway, I appreciate your analogy here about physical vision and true spiritual vision. One day I’ll meet Jesus and there’ll be just one of Him, hopefully. 😀

    • Tim says:

      Jeannie, I can’t imagine trying to compensate for double vision while being a college writing instructor. You never cease to impress!

    • Tim says:

      P.S. I hope you get cleared for surgery and that it’s a great success!

      • Jeannie Prinsen says:

        Thanks, Tim. This surgery is more frequently done on children so for an adult the wait can be quite long, but the doctor didn’t suggest any red flags that would prevent my having it done. As to how I cope now: my previous eye doctor said he could not put any stronger prisms (to reduce doubling) in my glasses than I currently had, but I sought a second opinion from another eye doctor and she WAS able to prescribe glasses with a stronger prism. They allow me to see very well for reading and computer work, which is wonderful — but as soon as it’s anything > 5 feet away the images start doubling up. The brain works hard to compensate but it’s just not enough. So the specialist (the dr who will do the surgery, not the dr who prescribed my glasses) said the less invasive approach would be to have (wait for it) botox injections, which would last about 3-4 months, and the most invasive was surgery. I can’t see having botox injected in my eyes 4 times a year for the rest of my life, so I decided to go for the surgery …. and now I’m just waiting for them to call me and tell me when it’ll happen. (I’ve been waiting 8 months already.)

  3. Anu Riley says:

    This really is beautiful. What is so ironic is just the other day someone wrote about the difference between the righteous and the wicked. She’s an exceptional writer like yourself—-so even though her post was short—it left me thinking a LOT.

    I am reading through Proverbs. As you read through them, you really get a strong flavor and feeling as to how different the righteous and wicked are in God’s eyes.

    With our own eyes, we cannot always see that so clearly, if at all. I don’t believe it’s possible apart from the razor sharp, perfectly pinpointed and unmistakably accurate discernment from the Lord.

    I remember a phrase called “shades of grey.” It was often used when people would say that an issue is not black and white. There are “shades of grey” that make certain matters more complicated.

    I can only imagine how many times you’ve seen this in your courtroom.

    This especially applies to those we love and are close to—-for me, at least. I have to work doubly hard to make sure I am seeing what He sees, and I am not being partial.

    In fact, if I claim to love them, it’s even more important that I see them as they really are. They could be straying, and if I refuse to see how the Lord sees them—I’m not doing them any favors.

    Before I met the Lord, but certainly afterwards too—-my spiritual vision was all over the place. What was wicked in His eyes was considered righteous in my eyes. What was righteous to Him was considered wicked in my eyes. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out who was in the right, but He had to work hard to soften my heart. And again—give me His light so I could see what He saw.

    My actual vision wasn’t much better off! I had to wear thick, very nerdy looking glasses for a long time. Well, my vision improved but my popularity and sense of vanity plummeted. Not to mention the horrors of puberty in general, which chose to hit me particularly hard.

    In my eyes—I was possibly the ugliest creature on the planet (and those around me made sure I knew how much they agreed with me!). In the Lord’s eyes, however—-nothing He has made in His image should ever be called, considered or cruelly labeled as “ugly.”

    I love the episode of the Twilight Zone called: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” I won’t give it away just in case all your readers haven’t seen it. But truly—I think it illustrates some of the heart of your post.

    What we consider to be lovely or not so lovely is so varied. I can guarantee you that everyone has their own views on what is or isn’t considered beautiful. And mankind, over its entire existence—has changed its narrative in this area too many times to count!

  4. Rosemari Simmons says:

    Thank you for this thoughtful post, Tim. I especially enjoyed “seeing” you w/your children when they were small. And, I could relate well to vision changes, whether physical or spiritual.

    I’ve only needed glasses for about 10 years, & am finally looking into contacts. Not brave enough for eye surgery (I’ve had plenty of other surgeries, tho’) yet. With “middle age” hunting me down & hitting me pretty hard, being a Mama to 4 adults, & a Grandma to 4 small people, I’m finding my vision, spiritually, is changing along w/my changing roles in life. Some cancers? Growth in my sense of utter thankfulness to our Lord for life itself. Adult kid in full rebellion against our Lord? Growth in a sense of awe over how much our Lord accepts & loves us, & is patient w/us. Grandchildren I can’t see due to distance? Growth in my faith in our Lord to give me everything I need – – really need – – & increased trust that God understands logistics of love. All the best, Rosemari

    • Tim says:

      The way God has adjusted your vision regarding the changes in life and family is heartening, Rosemari. I pray he gives more clarity and greater vision in your life as you grown in him.

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