How is your vision? Do you see clearly?
20/20. When I used to hear this, what came to mind was good vision and being able to see clearly—something that people who didn’t need glasses or contacts had. They could see both far away and close up. Seeing clearly is a gift, but one that is taken for granted until you don’t have it. We can get used to our eyesight and not being able to see as clearly. It becomes how we view the world if we don’t receive the correction we need. We adjust to what we know.
Now, 2020 is also a year. It’s been a crazy year so far, as well. It has been hard, bringing many unexpected changes. With COVID-19, stay-at-home orders, protests, riots, curfews, police defunding, rising crime, and mask mandates, much has changed. Normal seems as if it were long ago.
At first glance, having clear vision and our crazy year don’t seem to have anything in common other than the same numbers. However, what if our crazy year could actually cause us to see a little more clearly? All of the challenges we are facing in our country and in the world are making us reevaluate what is truly important. Maybe we are realizing that slowing down and taking time with family is good. Maybe we are learning how to see people differently. Hopefully, we can all learn to be a little bit more compassionate towards others. The craziness may be part of what helps us realize we need correction to see more clearly.
While hurting, angry people don’t know how to handle a life that seems out of control, it makes us realize that we were never in control. People want to be in control, but we never have been. We can’t control what the weather will do, or what a disease or an accident will do. It causes uncertainty but also should point us to God. Just as corrective lenses can help people see with 20/20 vision, our problems can help us see more clearly what life is like. To see things as they are and not as we imagine them to be, we have to give up the illusion of control. I believe this can be a time to become closer to Jesus if we will stop focusing on our problems and use them to look to Jesus instead, to see him, and to see from his perspective.
I have a new understanding about James 4:13–15, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit’; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this’” (NKJV). I don’t know what will happen tomorrow, let alone a year from now. While I never knew the future before, I made plans for it as if nothing could stop me. Now, I know that my plans are just plans. Things can change in an instant. But they always could have. That fact hasn’t changed; however, my awareness of my lack of control has changed. It is more evident that I can’t control much of anything. This is helping me see more clearly. The crazy year 2020 is helping my vision in this area become more clear.
The year 2020 has also included riots and violence. It once again doesn’t seem as if this will be connected to seeing clearly. However, it shows that no matter how educated we are, how much money we have, or how much technology we have, we still all need something different. No matter what you think of the riots, it does show that people need more than possessions or money. How much money you have doesn’t solve the world’s problems—or our own. People want to be seen, heard, loved, and respected. We need more than what money can buy; we need to know that Jesus cares. He’s the only one who can heal our hearts and wounds. He’s also the only one who can love us in our mess.
Jesus can take this year and turn it into something more. I know I don’t know what’s coming next, or whether life will ever get back to normal. Yet I hope and pray that Jesus will take the year 2020 and use it to help me see all of life more clearly. He is still in control even though the world feels out of control. I pray that the year 2020 will bring all of us closer to Jesus, and closer to 20/20 vision.
Rachel Roen enjoys learning, traveling, and spending time with friends. She recently completed her master’s degree in strategic leadership and is looking forward to the next adventure God has in store.
“Now I know my plans are just plans.” Yes, an actual benefit from this mess. Thank you for listing this.