At the beginning of the year I swore that I would try my best to avoid using the cliche that was doing the rounds “2020 Vision”. It just seemed too trite and superficial… but as we move into September and the season of Spring with the year almost three quarters over the expression 2020 Vision has taken on a whole new meaning.
This week I took possession of my first pair of reading glasses. As I’m writing this I’m wearing them so I try to get use to them… It might seem pretty inconsequential to most but my ‘perfect vision’ had always been something that I had taken pride in. Every eye test I’d ever done had ended with a comment that went something like: “no problems at all you’ve got perfect vision”. That was until the one I did on the last Sunday in August…
This year I’ve been spending more time in-front of screens than I usually do and probably in poorly lit rooms like my study at home. I’ve been finding that I’ve been finishing the day with headaches and feeling like I had to strain more and more as I read. Leanne has been lovingly reminding me about my age and that I probably should get an eye test. The outcome was that while only a ‘small script’ I do need to start to wear reading glasses.
I know it sounds superficial but it was a bit of a punch in the guts to the old ego… the man with perfect vision has vision that is not so perfect after all. And it’s not that I have an issue with glasses on other people. My dad has worn glasses since he was 3, I fell in love with a girl who wore glasses and both my children have worn glasses at various points in their life. But for me, it felt like my vision was one of my strengths.
In my daily devotional this morning we are up to one of my favourite verses in the bible:
‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
Another reminder that it is not our strengths that make us who we are, it is how we respond to our weaknesses and trials.
2020 has been a year that many of us would like to forget, and for many of us that is because we have realised we have been unable to do what we want to do or to do the things that make us feel good – these are the things that make us feel whole, they give us identity. But God is the expert of identity and our identity in Christ is so much more than the sum total of the things we can do and the things we enjoy doing.
I’ve noticed that with the reading glasses on, words are much clearer. I now admit that I did need help and the optometrist was right… and so was my wife! God did not make us to be all conquering by ourselves, God made us more than conquerors through Him who loved us (Romans 8:37).
I wonder if we can start to look at 2020 through this type of lens, how would it change our view of the year. Are we able to thank God for revealing to us that we need Christ and we need each other much more than we would be prepared to admit before? Yes this year has been one where we all at some point (and most of us at many points) have been reminded of our weaknesses but if we allow ourselves to rest in the promise that grace is sufficient and that God’s power is made perfect in our weakness, we just may be able to see more clearly the active work of the Holy Spirit who longs to be more visible to us. Who longs to be the bringer of real vision and longs to help us to see the possibility of revival and transformation.