Lately, I have been compelled to keep an eye on current events, during what feels like particularly dangerous times. Partisan divisions, fear about the pandemic, the economy and anger in the face of visible injustices contribute to a climate of deep insecurity.
Recently I was praying and journaling, asking God for deeper discernment and clearer discernment—to see under surface appearances what the Spirit wants me to know.
I went to sleep and in the early morning hours I had a vivid dream that a child came to me and prophesied, saying: “You are blind. You are deaf.”
In the dream I was struck by how confident the child was, and began to question this as over-confidence. But then I thought of Jesus’ call to welcome the children, and decided to receive this word and ponder it.
When I woke up I began thinking about the divisions that I myself participate in. Truthfully, I think I see more clearly than those I disagree with– who also seem way too confident that they see more clearly than me.
I then remembered the words of Jesus:
“For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind” (John 9:39).
If I do not see, that is, if I am in fact blind– only then do I stand to “benefit” from the judgment that Jesus brings into the world. If I claim that I see, then Jesus’ judgment for me is to “become blind.”
The child’s confident declaration: “you are blind, you are deaf!” then is very good news, because it positions me to benefit directly from Jesus’ ministry: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to proclaim…. recovery of sight to the blind” (Luke 4:18).
As I continue to notice my lack of sight, I can cry out in desperation like the blind man at the entrance to Jericho, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” and wait for Jesus to speak to me like he did that humble man: “What do you want me to do for you?” And I can say “Lord I want to regain my sight!” and position myself to receive my sight.
I can see though that I carry within myself the attitude of the Pharisees, when I view myself as an exception, as one who is uniquely seeing– prophetic, unlike those with whom I disagree.
In fact, I too protest as they did: “We are not blind too, are we?”—me, Gracie and our like-minded friends?! And Jesus tells me: “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘we see,’ your sin remains.”
I most certainly do not want to say “I see,” or even believe that I do secretly, while I claim to confess my blindness. No! Instead I want to benefit from Jesus coming to me, opening my eyes– which according to this text requires I truly acknowledge my very real blindness.
Let us be careful not to justify an attitude like that of the Pharisees, who say “we see.” This is the dominant attitude visible in our country today, with people pitted against one another, informed by our opposing media sources, claiming to “see” clearly what’s really happening. There’s a widespread lack of humility these days, and Christians often spout viewpoints that differ little from the mainstream media (right wing or progressive/left). What is the Spirit saying to the churches?
I long for greater clarity, and want to be guided forward in alignment with God’s will, speaking and acting in agreement with God’s Living Word for now—stripped of ideology, politics and personal bias.
In my blind and deaf state, I am drawn to being part of the adventure of faith, a member of the company of God’s people who are led forward by the Lord, as stated in Isaiah 42:16.
“I will lead the blind by a way they do not know, in paths they do not know I will guide them. I will make darkness into light before them and rugged places into plains. These are the things I will do, and I will not leave them undone.”
Being led by Jesus by a way a do not know excites me and gives me hope. So today I am reflecting on this, trying to acknowledge that I myself am like the people the Lord addresses in Isaiah 42:18.
“Hear, you deaf! And look, you blind, that you may see. Who is blind but my servant, or so deaf as my messenger whom I send? Who is so blind as he that is at peace with me, or so blind as the servant of the Lord? You have seen many things, but you do not observe them; Your ears are open, but none hears.”
As the Lord’s servant who I hope to be, I want to acknowledge my deafness, my blindness, and then respond to the command “hear!” and “look!”
I want Jesus to notice me, like he did the blind man at the beginning of John 9, and I welcome him anointing my eyes with his spitty mud— at least I think I do.
I ponder the command of Jesus to the blind man to “go and wash in the pool “Siloam,” (meaning “sent”)– to himself find his way there in the dark, where he washed off his muddy eyes. It was this act of humble obedience and trust that resulted in him coming back seeing (John 9:7). I wonder what the equivalent of Jesus’ command would be for me– today, tomorrow and on into this Fall and Winter and beyond—to walk forward blindly to the place Jesus sends me—to wash, and see. Will I be attentive and responsive? I think of the prophet Isaiah’s later word and want to obey (literally hear) the voice and trust.
“Who is among you that fears the Lord, that obeys the voice of his servant, that walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God” (Isaiah 50:10).
May we enter into a healthy, redemptive blindness, letting Jesus open our eyes and help us see clearly in these dark times.
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If you’d like to hear a recent sermon on John 9 which explores this further, check out our Tierra Nueva service below.