By Ken Banks - When I was 12 years old, I remember squinting.
Trying to read the chalkboard in that Grade 7 classroom was becoming more and more difficult for me. It turned out that I needed glasses.
For some of you, you will remember the song by Corey Hart, Sunglasses at Night. This came out the same year that I got glasses. While wearing sunglasses was deemed cool â€“ wearing glasses was not. Looking back at pictures of those early glasses I wore, I can see why.
Thirty years later, I can hardly recall a time in my life when I was able to see clearly with my own eyes.
Now on the verge of turning 43, they tell me that my next pair of glasses will be bi-focal lenses. Interesting how vision tends to change as we grow older. But it isnâ€™t only our physical vision that tends to change.
In many ways, how we look at life now will be much different than how we might have viewed the world earlier on. How I drove a car, for example, changed once I started having kids. I became more aware of others around me and made sure that I was being as careful as I could be now that I had precious cargo in my care.
Iâ€™m sure my wife will ask me about that statement, but she is precious to me too â€“ I just didnâ€™t change my driving habits when we got married.
Sometimes as our view of life changes, we can become cynical - perhaps even hardened or crusty. Other people become mellower and tender hearted. We may see opportunities where others see problems or vice versa. Each opportunity of life affords us a chance to learn.
A friend of mine recently suffered a stroke. It was totally unexpected. It was of such severity that we didnâ€™t know if he would live or not. Thankfully, today he is doing much better. There is still a journey of recovery ahead, but God, the medical team and his own body have worked together to bring about healing.
Would this be classified as a positive experience? No. In fact, I wouldnâ€™t wish it on my worst enemy, if I had one. And Iâ€™m certain my friend wouldnâ€™t have chosen that path if he had a say. But I know that my perspective has changed.
When my grandfather passed away when I was 12, I didnâ€™t want to go and view the body. I dearly loved my grandfather, and did not want to admit that he had died. I remember sitting in the funeral home, refusing to go to the casket.
I eventually did make my way â€“ but it broke my heart. Later, at home, I recall shaking my fist towards heaven in a moment of anger at God. Now, time has passed, and that same God I was angry at, I turn to for help.
Over the years, God has proven himself to be faithful and trustworthy. Even when prayers werenâ€™t answered as hoped. Iâ€™ve learned that God always does the right thing.
I may not be able to see it, right then, but part of living a life of faith is having your vision change.
In the Bible book of James, weâ€™re told that we see through a glass darkly. This simply means that we donâ€™t see the whole picture. Thankfully God has better than 20/20 vision.
Take the opportunity to discover what it means to depend on God. As the old hymn suggests, â€˜Learn to lean on Jesusâ€™.
Ken Banks serves as pastor at the Wesleyan Church in Truro