The football stadium was alive that Thanksgiving Day, as the cross-town high school rivals met on the field. I was 14, and Dad had taken me and my brother Tom to cheer on Cascade as they hoped to best Everett.
"Look at that bass drum with the big C on it," Dad said. "Where?" I asked. He pointed to the back of the marching band. "There," he told me, "the white one with the big red C painted on it." "I don't see it, " replied. "I just see a pink drum.
Needless to say, within the week I was sitting in the chair of the eye doctor, having my eyes tested. When my new glasses were ready I was surprised to realize that the technician who slipped them onto my face had freckles, and the tree in our neighbors' back yard had clearly distinguishable needles! My world changed when I got my vision adjusted.
Here's one definition for vision: being able to see things for what they truly are.
Second Kings, chapter 6 of the Old Testament records a fascinating story. The king of Aram is at war with Israel, but someone keeps warning the king of Israel of all of Aram's moves. When the king of Aram finds out that it is the prophet Elisha he sends his armies to capture Elisha. In the morning Elisha's servant is terrified to see the city surrounded by the armies of Aram and he cries out, "Oh, my lord, what shall we do?"
"Don't be afraid," the prophet answered. "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them." And Elisha prayed, "O Lord, open his eyes so he may see." Then the Lord opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha (verses 16, 17).
We tend to focus on what's right before us; we don't see things for what they truly are. Partly that's because there is an unseen spiritual realm that we little understand. Occasionally we may get a glimpse, like Elisha's servant did, but we are so focused on our immediate issues that we don't see the whole picture.
What's the remedy for spiritual vision problems? Allow God to open our eyes.
We can ask the Lord to change our vision. Psalm 119:18 the psalmist prays, "Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law." And after Jesus' resurrection as he walked along, unrecognized by two of His disciples, we read that beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself... "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?" the disciples said to each other after he disappeared from their sight (Luke 24:27,32).
I don't know any better way to improve our spiritual vision than to ask the Lord to open our eyes as we allow him to teach us through his Word. It is there that we see things for what they truly are.