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My Little Light of Faith

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What do you mean, you can’t see the big E?” the optometrist asked through a nasally voice.

“I honestly can’t see it,” I said, squinting until my eyes looked sunken into my forehead.

This is a typical conversation I faced as a child at every annual eye appointment. The optometrists were always shocked at how little I could see. I was self-conscious about my lack of vision. The only good thing was the joy of picking out a new pair of colorful glasses. But while I couldn’t see much, a religious experience opened my eyes.

I attended a retreat for teens that was hosted by my church’s youth group. The theme was “God Is Light.” When I arrived, I vaguely understood the meaning of God’s presence, and I never thought it would apply to my life. That would change, though.

One of the retreat’s activities entailed walking outside in the dark with only a small house light on for guidance. For some, their eyes adjusted, and they could walk about with little difficulty. But for me, the wrath of darkness engulfed me. I didn’t know where to walk. Although I was with a group of kids, I felt alone.

Once everyone was back inside safely, we read 1 John 1:5-7. In verse 5 it says: “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.”* The lesson I learned was that despite my being in total darkness, there was a house light, and it symbolized God. Its guidance represented Him leading me through life. I learned through this exercise that especially in our times of darkness, God is present and can guide us.

Opening my eyes

I was born with extremely poor eyesight. Without glasses, I can’t see anything. I have been wearing them since I was a baby. At first they were just a way of life. Later on, though, they became a nuisance. Whatever I did, whether it was playing in the backyard or swimming, my glasses got in the way. It seemed as if I broke several pairs each year. And with thick lenses protruding from fragile frames, my glasses were the butt of many jokes at school.

I always feared trips to the eye doctor because of the intricate tests and drops that left my eyes fatigued. The appointments were constant reminders of how bad my vision really was. Unlike the “big E,” I felt small. Each time I fell down stairs, walked into walls, or had chemicals put into my eyes, I wondered, Why is this happening to me? Where is God? Thankfully, at the retreat, I found Him.

One of my favorite Bible stories is the healing of the blind man in John 9. Jesus explained to His disciples that the reason the man was blind was so God could work a miracle in his life. Once Jesus performed His miracle, the people would believe in God. Jesus spit on the ground to make mud, put it on the blind man’s eyes, and told the man to wash his eyes off in the Pool of Siloam. Once he did this, the man could see. Jesus had opened his eyes. The retreat I went to was God’s way of opening my eyes. I realized that during the times I had spent feeling that I couldn’t see, all I had to do was let God into my life.

Wearing my God glasses

Although my real vision is still poor, my sight through God has developed perfectly. As long as I act through Him, He will guide me in the right direction. Ephesians 5:8, 9 says: “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth).”

Although my eyesight is anything but perfect, I think of those whose vision is worse than mine. My good friend is legally blind. Like me, she has had a myriad of tests performed. Recently she went through a procedure to remove cataracts and implant artificial irises into her eyes. After the surgery, her vision improved. Although she had to travel to another state to have this new type of surgery at 18 years old, nothing could dampen her spirits. Even through her visual struggles, she has been an inspiration to me through her constant positive outlook. I believe her presence is God’s way of helping me see the miracles I have in my life.

My eyes have been opened to God’s greatest gift: letting me see through Him. God gives me light every day, and I am able to see better than I ever have. I’ve realized that the obstacles in my life can turn out to be gifts. It’s all how I look at it—literally.

*Scripture quotations in this article are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Andrea Canale, currently a college student in New York, is enjoying her new vision through God.

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