I have several pairs of reading glasses — one for my purse, one at the office, one at the beach, one in my car, one by my bed… you get the picture. I can no longer see to read without them. 🙁 It happened so suddenly. At age 45 — I felt sort of smug about my vision. Then literally, all in a day, I couldn’t see up close!
Sometimes I get along ok without readers… I type with the font set on 16 (and try to remember to reset the font size before sending my letters — otherwise they look like the first chapter books I ever read). I bought a large print Bible. In the ambient light of restaurants I can usually make out enough to at least choose my entree, and a little adventure and surprise in life is good, right?
But there are many times that no matter how much I squint, stretch and retract my arm to varying lengths, concentrate — no matter how hard I try all within my power, I just cannot see what is right in front of me without my readers. It’s frustrating! I put them on and magically the smudges becomes legible!
Two packages from Amazon arrived last night. Two books I want to read and a new pocket camera for my upcoming trip… woo hoo! I got in bed last night excited to check out my purchases, and found no readers. I’m not sure where the bedroom pair went, but they were not within reach as they should have been. I had already gone downstairs once to get my phone charger out of my car (I had to take it to work because I forgot to charge my phone the night before…), and I just didn’t want to exert the effort to find the glasses. Surely, I could do manage on my own.
I nestled in and began looking at the new camera. I carefully unloaded each piece of equipment. I could read the large print on all the boxes — but all I really accomplished was unloading and reloading the box. I couldn’t see any instructions, and didn’t want to miss a step or lose a part. It was futile effort.
I decided to read. One of the books I got was written in the 1800s by Andrew Murray. The other is a more modern book, The Pharisee Within Me. The print in this one seemed large enough to read without my glasses! (The middle-aged author must have clued in his publisher to the needs of his target audience.) I began to read with moderate squinting and adjusting of position and light.
Oddly the preface was by Andrew Murray! What a coincidence… a God-thing! The theologians from earlier centuries are some of my favorites. They are very instructive and inspiring, but a little tougher reads with all the thous and whatsoevers, etc.. I made it through the preface to the first chapter. The author was very formal and archaic for 2009. I looked for the copyright page to see exactly what year it was published — and looked at the back cover to read a little more about the author. The book was very different than I had anticipated.
Have you guessed yet? I was reading the “wrong” book. I was reading With Christ in the School of Prayer, by Andrew Murray, all the while thinking I was reading a book described this way: “easy-to-read, practical teaching style, the author examines the passages where Jesus confronted the Pharisees and makes thought-provoking observations regarding our Christian faith and churches today.” Both books are good and worthy, but not nearly as effective if you are searching for something entirely different from the contents you hold.
Struggling to put a square peg in a round hole, and trying to make what I was reading fit what I believed was true about the author… I even saw a wonderful cool “coincidence.” I didn’t recognize my folly for a good 15 minutes. I stubbornly forged ahead, just knowing I could do this without my glasses. The distraction of not being able to see well, kept me from noting I was in the wrong text! I went to bed.
This morning as I tried squinting to read the camera directions, I quickly grabbed my purse readers — handy just a few feet away on the same counter. Suddenly the previously Asian looking print became clear, and I was on my way!
Because I didn’t charge the battery last night, I am delayed in moving forward with the camera set up. I sat down to write. Aren’t the reading glasses so many of us find essential at midlife very much like our Bibles?
Proverbs 12:15 puts it this way, “The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.” God guides us in three major ways: through the Holy Spirit, Godly counsel of friends and leaders, and The Bible. The first two should always be tested by scripture, because “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” (2 Timothy 3:16 NLT)
Why do we try to live life in our own knowledge and power — as we see fit? So often, we do what feels right, looks good, and what we want to do — rather than slowing down and giving God our first fruits of time — in prayer and reading His Word (living and personal to us) for the day. Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.” We need the Bible to see clearly what God’s will is for us — each day.
God had been plastering this verse in my life — even on 3 different church marquees over the last few months (in case I didn’t have my readers)… “Do not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is– his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2, NIV).
I keep my readers scattered about so they are in easy reach, because without them, what’s close to me is blurry. I’m not there yet, but a lot of people even hang reading glasses around their necks. I learned last night, that I need to get up and get them when they are misplaced! My efforts were folly without them.
We keep our cell phones, ipads and laptops at our fingertips. I check facebook, linkedIn and Pinterest regularly — often multiple times a day. We are in danger of losing real relationship because of our electronic obsessions! We can do a quick self-test any day, by asking what we have “opened” today… 48% of users 18-35 check facebook as soon as they wake up.
However, in a 2012 survey regarding Bible engagement, “LifeWay Research surveyed more than 2,900 Protestant churchgoers and found that while 90 percent ‘desire to please and honor Jesus in all I do,’ only 19 percent personally read the Bible every day. ”
Why don’t we read our Bibles? Do we really believe Jesus and His Word? Do we think we are saved through faith by grace, but live all on our own? Is our faith a life altering commitment? I have a favorite Bible, but I also have numerous Bibles scattered in many of the same places I keep my readers… but I don’t pick it up as often as I want to. My belief does not match what I know about God’s word and the world’s ways. (That’s why I’m reading to discover the Pharisee that lives in ME.)
I get busy with all that seems so urgent in life. I forget to pray and neglect God’s Word to me. Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” John 10:10 says, “The thief comes to kill and steal and destroy. I have come that they might have life and have it to the full.” I want the abundant life God Promises.
Through my poor vision (which began just a month or two after the ophthalmologist told me it would probably never happen)… God gave me another reminder to keep Him near, pray, pick up my Bible and make Him my first priority — any other life, any other way is as futile as trying to read the tiny instructions for my camera without my reading glasses.