As Thanksgiving came to a close last year I began feeling sick, so, like most of us, I went to the doctor. That Monday morning, I looked in the mirror and what looked back at me was stranger than normal-puffy eyes and lips, and a rash on my neck. I was having an allergic reaction. The doctor wanted to see me and put me on another antibiotic and gave me some steroids to combat the reaction. I never thought about it again. Until Thursday.
On Thursday, at “dinner with the pastors,” I noticed that my vision was blurry in my right eye especially far away. As I got in the car that night, all the numbers and letters were blurry as well. So, the next day I made a visit with my eye doctor and he said that the steroids had caused a reaction that heightened a condition called CSR (fluid under the retina). He told me that at this point it may get worse. The following Thursday as I was going to bed my other eye “went out.” As I looked at my cell phone I could not read a thing. I have never felt more afraid than in that moment. I still remember it like it just happened yesterday. Not being able to see is a scary thing. I began to pray earnestly for God’s help. The next day, Friday, I went to the eye doctor again and he said that there was nothing he could do at the moment.
I shared with Dr. W. that I had been planning and preparing for a year and half with my friend Steve Green and his team to come to Bethel for a Christmas concert. They were flying in on Saturday and I had a dress rehearsal with all our Bethel team of choir and orchestra. He said, “You know the music man, just go out there and conduct and use your ears.” My thought was yeah right, doc! I did know my “stuff” but this was a big deal. I need my eyes. Later, I would “see” spiritually that, in fact, I did not need my eyes as Jesus was displaying His glory through my weakness and helpless estate. I will never forget that Saturday rehearsal with the orchestra and choir. The choir was blurry to me and I had a hard time making out the music. My sweet clarinetist stood beside me and read measure numbers and answered any questions I had about the score. What a gift Cyndi was to me! I will never forget God’s kindness to me through Cyndi in those moments.
On Sunday night, just before the concert, the Lord gave me just enough vision close up that I could see our senior pastor’s wife, Christy, as she walked up to me and straightened my bow tie right before we walked onstage for the concert. This was God’s grace! As the concert unfolded, God displayed His glory in a powerful way. It was a magnificent night. The sold out crowd of nearly a thousand people worshipped the Lord. My limited vision only lasted for as long as the concert but as I spoke with Steve the following Monday he told me that our concert was the best of the tour, a confirmation that despite our weakness, He will display His glory!
Since the concert I have had numerous visits with my retina doctor. I have been able to share with the doctor and His team about God’s grace and how the church has prayed for me during this time. They would rejoice with me at each visit, as my eyes got better. At my most recent visit, Dr. W., who is not a Christian said, It is a miracle! He then said it again. It is a miracle! All the swelling, redness, fluid has gone away. My right eye was back to 20/20 and my left one to 20/30. He was thrilled. I was thrilled. I have had many moments leaving this office, thanking Jesus for His care for me. He never left me! His grace was sufficient. He was and is my healer and the lifter of my head. Praise be to his name!
In part 2, I will share some of the things the Lord taught me through this trial. May you be encouraged in knowing that: God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.(Psalm 46:1)