Like many children with neurodevelopmental challenges, our daughter Carly has vision problems. She has some of the more traditional issues like astigmatism, near-sightedness and strabismus. But one of her significant challenges involves immature and inefficient central macular vision. In other words, she has hyper-peripheral vision. It is actually a very common but under-diagnosed problem among people with autism and other learning disorders and this is tragic because there are therapies to help, problems that can be avoided and potential to be unlocked. Even if you don’t know anyone with this problem, please stick with me and keep reading. I’m developing an analogy here.
Hyper-peripheral vision creates many challenges for Carly and for us. Because of her tendency to rely too much on her peripheral vision, her depth perception is compromised (also contributing to instability when she’s walking) and she is inclined to “play” with her vision in self-stimulating ways that create a ripple effect of other problems.
Twelve years ago when Carly was almost 2 years old, we began to learn about how to do some simple daily therapies designed to help her develop stronger central vision. We’re so grateful for all the progress she’s made in this and other areas even while we keep working the process and praying toward complete healing. In the meantime, Carly’s vision therapies have provided a great opportunity for us to learn some important things about God and the way HE sees things.
One of Carly’s therapies involves wearing special glasses for a few minutes a couple of times each day. The glasses restrict some of her vision while stimulating her macula. The brain receives some visual information but needs to fill in the missing pieces. I still find it fascinating to put those glasses on myself and wonder about how they work and the complexity with which God created us. Despite the fact that the glasses only allow visual input to come through a few tiny pin-sized holes, my brain takes only a few seconds to fill in the missing pieces so that what I PERCEIVE is the complete picture of what I’m looking at in the room. I’m hardly aware that something is missing.
It strikes me that we operate like this in our faith. We don’t see the whole picture of life but God does.
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. HEBREWS 11:1
We are taking in limited information with limited understanding and, oftentimes, with an immature spiritual perspective. Yet, because God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and ever-present, He has a different perspective about everything than we do and can be fully trusted. God’s ways are higher than our ways and we don’t need to see it all. But we can benefit from developing God’s perspective.
Jesus, Himself, benefitted from taking God’s perspective. As recorded in Mark 14:35, Jesus could say with complete confidence, “But let what you want be done, not what I want.” With Jesus’ human perspective, he faced the prospects of suffering and death with an overwhelming desire to be rescued. Yet, when He viewed his circumstances through God’s eternal Kingdom perspective, Jesus could willingly surrender Himself and trust in a greater purpose.
It’s tempting to go through life frustrated by unanswered questions — the things we can’t easily understand or “see.” One of the very best gifts that comes out of growing intimacy in our relationship with Jesus Christ is an increasing understand of God’s perspective. The more deeply we know God, the more we share His eternal Kingdom perspective and appreciate that something much bigger than ourselves is at stake. Things like suffering take on new meaning and we carry into life’s challenges a new kind of anticipation and appreciation.
“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” 2 CORINTHIANS 3:18
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 CORINTHIANS 4:18
LORD JESUS, no ears have ever heard nor eyes ever seen a God who is greater than You. No God but You acts for the good of those who trust You (Isaiah 64:4). Thank you for having the vision and power to create complex things and involve them for great purposes. I want to have more of a Kingdom perspective on life — in the details and in the larger picture. I want to know You more and see how You see. And, Lord, when I don’t see well, help me to trust that You are actively involved in the unseen to ensure that all things are working together for Your glory and for my good. AMEN