One of my favorite old hymns is the ancient Irish tune, “Be Thou My Vision.” I have heard it jokingly referred to as “the optometrist’s hymn.” But there’s a lot more to unpack in the title than just a plug for good eye care.
God’s word is full of references to sight, seeing, blindness, light, lamps, darkness, night, day, visions and dreams, foresight and prophecy, images and reflections, and much more. God is both the source of our sight, and of our insight. God sheds light on our deepest secrets of the past, and provides a lamp allowing us to see the obstacles ahead more clearly. Jesus came to be the Light of the World, and bring sight to the blind, both physically blind and spiritually blind.
Many times, we pray for answers– we want a quick solution to our circumstances, or a definitive direction for our next step. But God sometimes wants to show us a bigger picture. Sometimes, he wants to show us more intricate details. Instead of asking for what we want God to give us, we need to ask for God to give us the vision HE has for our future. He may not reveal every detail– or he may only reveal the next detailed step. But God’s vision is clearer and bigger, and more glorious than we will ever know if we aren’t willing to look with His eyes to see.
We also need to ask God to BE our vision– that we would see him more clearly for Who He Is! Whatever is in our focus will appear bigger and clearer than things in the periphery. When we allow Him to be our vision, we start to see things from His perspective, which makes all the difference. What we see on our own is often an optical illusion– problems look bigger than they really are, hurts and grievances grow larger, and people become distorted by the lenses or mirrors we use to view them. And we lose sight of God’s glory, wisdom, majesty, power, and everlasting love. But God restores our focus and our perspective, so that we see problems in the light of His power to overcome; we see people who are made in His likeness and image– people who are loved by God, even if they are in rebellion against Him. We see the glory of God’s creation as it was meant to be, even as we see the wreckage of pollution, corruption, disease and disaster. We see God’s mercy as lives are transformed and families are mended and justice is finally achieved. And we see the rays of hope in God’s promises fulfilled and those yet to be fulfilled.