As we gathered, the teacher instructed each of us to choose a partner. “One of you will be blindfolded and the other will be a guide,” he added. Everything went black as I slipped on the blindfold and allowed my partner to nudge me forward and lead me by the hand. A once-familiar classroom was suddenly a maze of desks and chairs to bump into or trip over. No longer self-reliant, I was utterly dependent on my guide for directions and safety. But the worst was yet to come.
Leaving the classroom, we staggered down the hall. My other senses, once ignored, began to provide clues as to where we were. Laughter and talking meant other students were nearby. We must be in the hall. Ouch! That must be a door. The hard surface under my feet indicated a sidewalk. Automobile sounds fading in and out, suggested we were near a road.
A road? Wait a minute! We’re on a road — with cars? Isn’t that — dangerous?!
“You are now stepping off the curb and onto the highway,” said the teacher. Suddenly, my body lurched out of balance as the ground under my feet dropped eight inches. Imagine eight tiny inches with the power to disrupt everything that was secure in my life. Knowing exactly where I was never seemed to matter before but now details were crucial. How could I take the next step if I didn’t know where that step would lead?
“Stop and listen,” commanded the teacher. I heard the familiar sound of an automobile engine only this time it was getting louder. Alarms in my brain screamed, “You idiot, run. A car is heading straight toward you!” But the sound went safely by, only to be quickly followed by a similar sound from the opposite direction. Again, the voice inside me screamed, “Run!” But again, nothing happened. We removed the blindfolds, rubbed our eyes and found ourselves standing in the middle of a busy hightway with cars whizzing by.
I never before grasped the fear and helplessness that accompanies blindness. This was a terrifying lesson for me.
Is this what God means by spiritual blindness? At first, you think you can manage okay as other senses provide clues; but suddenly something shifts and you are thrown off balance. Alarms in your brain scream out as you sense approaching danger. Your spiritual eyesight now becomes crucial but you seem to be blindfolded. How can you take the next step in life if you cannot see where to place your feet?
Spiritual blindness produce feelings of helplessness and fear. But Psalm One offers hope for the blind.
“Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked — But they delight in doing everything the Lord wants. (Psalm 1:1) This is not a lighthearted promise of joy as in eating ice cream. This indescribable joy can only come from God. How do we obtain it? We begin to open our spiritual eyes and carefully watch where we place our feet. Don’t search for shortcuts. Rather, begin to look seriously at the reality of our spiritual blindness and the benefits of relying on God’s light.
There are two opposing principles within Psalm One. First is the promise: “They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season without fail. Their leaves never wither, and in all they do, they prosper.” (1:3) In other words, the storms still exist but God gives strength to withstand and continue bearing fruit?
Second is the warning: “But this is not true of the wicked. They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind. They will be condemned at the time of judgment.” (1:4) Most of us would not quickly claim to be spiritual trees but none of us wants to be chaff either. So, what do we do? How can we improve our spiritual eyesight?
The experience of being blindfolded and a careful reading of Psalm one yield four valuable lessons:
- Appreciate what you already possess – the abilities God has given you. “Oh the joys of those –“
- Learn to develop other senses. Strengthen Godly relationships. “They are like trees — bearing fruit.”
- Avoid crowded highways. Let go of damaging relationships. ”Do not follow the advice of the wicked –“
- Know and trust your guide. Learn Who is your real Guide. “The Lord watches over your path –”
It sure beats an oncoming car.
“I walked into a church to see a play my son was in. I had not (been) for years. I had given up on Christianity. Something melted inside my heart. I felt an aching sense that I was missing something which could fill the spiritual hole inside me. The pull of that service kept tugging on me and I kept going back. The church has been responsible for nurturing my spiritual growth through worship, Bible studies, workshops, prayer and the list goes on. Why is the church important to me? Without it, I would still be lost.” –Eveline