Eyes to see.


I recently picked up a book called “Your Body: A guide for occupants. ” Its clever title reeled me in and its pages have held my interest thoroughly. In it, a scientist and doctor by the name of Bill Bryson (who clearly holds a position that is against an open system or any sort of view of theism in science,) walks through the marvel that is our body.

 It’s written in a manner even I, someone who isn’t very scientific, can understand and it has left me marveling at God’s genius in our creating. While I don't hold the same position on several bits of scientific theory, I appreciate the way he breaks the current understandings down. Even if Dr Bryson doesn’t see God in it, I find myself ending chapters in praise.

One piece of this book has been following me around and giving me hours of thought. In Chapter 5, titled 'The Head,' He speaks to the marvels happening between our two ears. In a subsection titled 'sight,' he explains:

"Our Eyes contain two types of photo receptors for vision-rods, which help us see in dim conditions but provide no color, and cones, which work when the light is bright and divide the world up into three colors: blue, green, and red. People who are "color blind" normally lack one of the three types of cones, so they don't see all the colors, just some of them....Because we were once nocturnal, our ancestors gave up some color acuity-that is, sacrificed cones for rods-to gain better night vision. Much later, primates re-evolved the ability to see reds and oranges, the better to identify ripe fruit, but we still have just three kinds of color receptors compared with four for birds, fish, and reptiles. It's a humbling fact, but virtually all non mammalian creatures live in a visually richer world then we do." (Pg 83.)

When I read this paragraph to Ben, he questioned, " I wonder if, even if we could have their eyes, our brain would even know how to see in such colors?”

As a creative soul, color is kind of my jam. This idea that there is an entire spectrum of colors I am not invited into has me a bit offended. Oh to be a bird just for a second! Oh to see what they see!


This desire, to see what we cannot is not unique to me. As a person of faith, I see it often-although expressed differently-throughout the biblical narrative. This desire is one that we as Christians put a good deal of hope into. We have embraced the hope that that one day, we who have faith in what we do not see, will someday see all we have hoped for. (Heb. 11:1)

We worship with this in mind. We show up and love our neighbor with this in mind. We read our Bible and we train our kids with this in mind. When we interact with the immortal souls we are surrounded by we are essentially living a life that states:  “Someday, I believe, my faith will be made into sight and I desperately hope you’ll be with me in the seeing.” 

Hope will be realized, we are assured. There is a joy set before us, and My goodness! is it a good one.

When I was very little girl, I lived in a very bad part of San Antonio, Texas. My neighbor died in a drive by shooting not intended for him. Before we left Texas, my sister and I met another neighbor in a different neighborhood who was involved in a local gang. The enthusiastic evangelical girls we were, decided to ‘lead him to Jesus.’ Whether he was sincere or not, he repeated after us a sinners prayer in good 90's fashion and went on his way. It was a moment I felt quite proud of.

Interestingly, a few days later, he said he got into a fight and that the other guy ran away. He used swear words I was unfamiliar with as he explained that 'some big giant dude' who he didn’t know showed up and he thinks it might have been because he said that prayer thing we had him say.

I sincerely don’t know if he was making a joke out of us or not, but I remember, as a child,  I believed him. And I praised God for it. "WOW God, you showed up! YOU SENT AN ANGEL!"

I think on that instance as an adult. I'm a cynic naturally, so I often am tempted to throw it away. Yet, I’m reminded of the biblical account of when Elisha's servant was able to see in a way he had previously been unable. In 2 Kings 6 we see an account of Elisha being protected from the King of Syria. Elisha could see something his servant could not:

And Elisha prayed, "Open his eyes, LORD, so that he may see." Then the LORD opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

There is an entire world we do not see. 

The Old Testament establishes this for us more than once. 

Traveling to the New testament, I find myself resonating with the account of the blind man of Mark 8. A blind man asks Jesus to heal him.  In it, Jesus heals his eyes, but the man replies "I see men as trees walking."  This man's mind is not made to see clearly. Even after a touch with Jesus. Jesus then, again lays his hands on the blind man and only after a second touch his sight is completely restored and he now "can see clearly."

I don't think it's an accident that this account was written in this way. I think it could have easily read that Jesus laid hands on him and after he was done, he could see. 

This converging of all these ideas has me thinking. What if we have in us the ability to see, but we often are like the blind man in Mark, We cannot see clearly?

In seasons of depression I've looked into the faces of my kids filled with joy and I cannot see clearly. In seasons of hurt from a friend, their apology sincere, I cannot hear it clearly.  In seasons of heavy, the world does not seem as it should be. I lack the ability to see it.

Where the blind man and I differ is that he asked Jesus to show up, I often do not.

What if there is a ‘cone' that isn’t in our eyes, but in our souls, that we need Jesus to heal so we can see more true than what we saw before?  When our Savior said “greater than these things will you do” did he have this in mind? Did he have this idea that we as believers would see spiritually clearly as he did?

Did he invite us to see as he sees? I think so. I hope so.

 Any one who has journeyed with any of our older saints can attest to the uncanny ability they have to see what we do not see. They have a gift of discernment that passes worldly wisdom, straight into soul matters. 

I crave that. I pray that my brothers and sisters would be a discerning people.  I pray that we would be people that as we grow to know the Father more we can see ourselves more clearly and thus see our world more clearly. 

So lately, that's been my prayer. When I have a run-in with my husband I'm praying "Jesus, help me to see him as you do." When I feel maxed out and discouraged I ask Him "Lord let me see why this matters." When I'm struggling with my kids, "Lord let me see their heart and how to reach it." A million ways I desperately need to no longer see the way I do.

Oh that he would wake up that cone or rod in my being.

May we see in the fullest capacity that God intended here on earth and may we see even more brilliantly when we find ourselves in our glorified bodies when we arrive at home at last. While I may not be able to, as Bryson says "live in a visually richer world" than my bird friends, today, I hope to live in a spiritually richer one, and when we get to heaven, you better believe I'm hoping to see all those colors. 

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