One summer we went on a joint vacation. A large number of the people who joined us were unsaved and honestly, I found it quite frustrating and uncomfortable. Our daughter was young at the time, at that tender age where you want to saturate them with goodness and shield them from all evil and harm. Only every time I turned around, provocative television shows blasted, adults swore, talked of things that made me blush, let alone our daughter, and downed one beer bottle after another. It wasn’t long before the Momma-Bear in me raged! My first reaction? I wanted to leave, and take our impressionable daughter with me.
Then we went to church and God opened my eyes, allowing me to see their blindness. This didn’t lessen my desire to protect our daughter, but it did deepen my compassion for the blind around me.
The sermon was on Revelations 3:14-21
14“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (NIV)
Laodicea was a wealthy city and home to a medical school that produced a highly sought-after powder used to treat eye disease, but they themselves remained blind. God told them to put salve on their eyes so they could see–to view the world through an eternal perspective. They’d become blinded by their wealth, their life of ease and their comfort.
I believe God is saying the same thing to us–open your eyes to the blind all around you.
When we see others with physical disabilities we feel compassion and we long to help. When we see others with spiritual disabilities–spiritual blindness–we grow angry and uncomfortable and try to pull away. Even worse, we expect them to see things through our eyes, forgetting they are blind. What they need is an ever-present, compassionate guide who continually points them to the light.
As you read Shellie Neumeier’s excerpt, taken from an Interactive Spring Story highlighted on her website, ask God to open your eyes to all those running around deaf and blind, enslaved to sin. You hold the key to freedom. Will you share it with them?
by Shellie Neumeier
The day before yesterday should have been the best day of my life. And it had been until…
“Harper, come out here.”
…the sun flare. Mom’s pretty freaked. Can’t blame her. I’m not freaking…
“What are you doing in there?”
I’m hiding. Who wants to face this world? It’d be different if we were at home. Josie’d tell me to relax and enjoy ‘cause all the schools will have to shut down. I’d even be nice to Alex if he would shut up long enough for me to get a word in. But that won’t happen now. Not when we’re stranded two hundred and forty-three miles from home. Some college visit, huh?
“Did you hear that, Harper? The news guy said it’s worldwide. Can you imagine? Everyone within view of the sun’s flare is…is…blind.”
We were lucky. Arrived in Madison about an hour before the big flare. When it hit, white light flashed and left total darkness in its wake. After the flash there was nothing but silence. Seconds later the sounds turned horrific. Cars crashing, planes rushing the ground, and screaming mothers everywhere—mine included.
“Channel four says a handful of folks still have their sight. The sighters, as he’s calling them, were the ones inside and away from the windows.”
I’m never coming out of the bathroom, again.
I laid my pencil beside the hotel notepad and leaned my palms against the bathroom vanity. It felt cool to the touch, calming in a way. Mom’s feet shuffled across the worn carpet and stopped outside the bathroom door.
Tap. Tap. Tap.
“Harper, please come out. We need to talk.”
We needed more than talk. I faced the mirror and stared at nothing. For a moment I wondered if I’d ever see the note I just wrote. At least I’d never have to worry about Mom reading it.
“Harper?” Mom’s voice lowered to a hushed whisper as if she thought she might scare me. Too late.
I sucked in a deep breath and felt my way to the door knob. Of course I knocked over the make-up bag left on the vanity and listened to the sound of my lip gloss rolling across the counter. Something clattered to the floor, but I left it there. What good would make-up be to a blind girl in a sightless world?
I cracked the door and hesitated. Where was she? “Mom?”
Her hands grasped my forearms and she pulled me into the room. When the side of my knee hit the bed she let go. The mattress groaned when I sat down and tipped when she did.
“Somehow we have to get back to your dad and Alex.” She pulled the comforter taut between us.
“You gonna drive? Or shall I?”
A breathy grunt sounded more than a little upset. “No need to get waspish, Harper. We’re going to have to work together if this is going to work.”
“If what’s going to work?”
“I’m going to hire one of those sighters to drive us home.”
I turned toward her voice. “What? Seriously? You’re going to hire a total stranger. To drive our car. All the way home?”
“Yes.” One word, that’s all she said. She’d made up her mind. With a pat of her hand on mine I imagined the motherly smile she always gave at moments like this.
I gripped her fingers with mine. “Then let me find the driver.”
She pulled her fingers free. “Absolutely not. It’s one thing to have you leave to get us food, but I won’t have you traipsing around out there. Not…like this.” Her side of the bed rose and her footprints padded across the room.
“Like what? Blind? Say it Mom.” I stood and tried to follow her, but my foot caught on the bed’s post sending a bolt of pain up my leg. I bit back the scream that ached to press through my clenched teeth. For the first time, I was grateful my mother couldn’t see my face.
[This is an excerpt from the Interactive Spring Story highlighted on my website. Every Thursday, readers choose between plot options and move the story along according to their design. Check it out: http://shellieneumeier.com/2011/04/blinded-our-spring-interactive-story/]
Married for almost 20 years, Shellie and her husband have four wonderful kiddos and two goofy greyhounds. After receiving her undergraduate degree from the UW-Madison, she acquired an early childhood education certificate and served in youth, children’s, special needs and family ministries.
She enjoys teaching her teens how to drive and chauffeuring her preteens across Wisconsin. Once in a while, she gets to read big people books (the kind without pictures) and loves it.
Shellie writes because it keeps her away from her husband’s power tools and because every now and then, she doesn’t have the choice, it just takes over.
Find out more about Shellie and her writing at http://shellieneumeier.com
And for all our young, aspiring writers out there, visit Shellie’s online writing conference for authors under 20: