What has vision got to do with this blog? Well, vision can become cloudy and this blog is about cloud and sunshine! So there is some justification for posting this rather personal essay here.

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged”, Jesus had said in his famous Sermon on the Mount (New Testament reference Matthew 7:1). To make his point that it was more important to judge oneself than to judge others, he had asked, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:3-5)

I had been reading this familiar Bible passage since long, but one day I felt that there really was a plank in my eye, the left one to be precise. Perhaps it was the size of a speck, but I knew that it would eventually grow into a large plank. This was a physical obstruction that clouded my vision and it would have to be removed. The clouding was at first thin like a cirrus cloud but as time went by, it had become a thick stratus typical of fog, and later it was threatening to grow into a dark overcast of a cumulonimbus.

I learnt soon that the plank in your eye does not really interfere in your daily living. Others may not even notice that you have a faulty vision as you continue merrily to find faults with others. You can read pretty well by following the style of the pharmacist who easily interprets the handwriting in a doctor’s prescription. You can double the font size on your computer screen. What you cannot see, you can just ignore as insignificant. Like St Paul who had once said, “we walk by faith, not by sight”. (2 Corinthians 5:6-8) Faith itself is defined in the Bible as “an assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). Living without sight is not that difficult!

Faith and sight are indeed related inversely. Lesser the sight, greater the faith! How much faith do you need to work miracles? Jesus had said, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20) When Jesus was here on earth, blind people came to him in faith and he restored their eyesight. But does faith work in this day and age? It does, but it needs prayer and action as well. Faith, prayer and action form the three sides of the miracle triangle. I have experienced this in my life.

You can have faith, but in order to receive something you have to ask for it in faith. You may have faith, but for doors to open, you have to knock in faith. Your heavenly father surely knows your needs, but he does not provide you with rations that would last for a year. He wants you to pray daily for your daily bread. In everything, you have to put in an effort on your part to get what you want. “Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” (James 2:17) Even the blind people who believed that Jesus could make them see again, had to shout from the crowds to draw his attention. They had to seek the help of other people to take them where he was. In one of Jesus’ miracles, he made a blind man to go and wash off in a lake the mud that he had applied over his eyes.

With this combination of faith, prayer and action, one fine morning, I found myself undergoing eye surgery. This was a commonplace procedure, I had been told earlier. The surgeon, however, informed me that he had found my cataract a hard nut to crack. He did finish the process of crushing the cataract that he had begun, but my eye found it strenuous and difficult to bear. The result was a blurring of vision that was traced to a damaged cornea. I first thought that medication would correct the problem but I was wrong.

The lens of the eye is protected from dust, heat, pollution and injury by the covering of the cornea. It consists of five layers, the inner ones being increasingly delicate. However, the cornea cannot be treated with medication as it has no blood supply! The reason is that the Designer of the human body wanted the protective layers of the cornea to be perfectly transparent in order to provide us with a perfect eyesight. Even tiny blood vessels in the cornea would have made us see the world around us as if through a mesh! Because of this design constraint, the cornea has to draw its nourishment through its surrounding fluid and any treatment can only be given through eye drops. I have since taken more than a thousand eye drops and they have had the effect of improving my vision slowly but surely.

This has happened not just due to faith and action but prayer as well. Many of my well-wishers have prayed for my recovery and their prayers have been answered. At one time, my surgeon himself had prayed for me!

What do you do with an improved eyesight? This is a question that is difficult to answer. Eye surgery is different from other surgeries like say a coronary bypass in that after surgery, the repaired heart will hopefully begin to beat normally and you do not have much to do in the matter. But after eye surgery, a new world opens out before you and offers many tempting options. You see what you have never seen before, you can attempt to do what you never did before. Improved vision is a new valuable resource given to you by God at a time when your other resources are dwindling. What a waste would it be to throw away God’s precious gift to see things you do not need to see, to see things that could harm you, or just to keep your eyes closed and sleep long hours!

Physical healing was an important aspect of Jesus’ ministry on earth. But after he had healed people, he never sermonized them on how to use their renewed faculties or what to do with their healed bodies. Still on many such occasions he uttered just three words of caution: ‘Sin no more’. What doctor can write a lifelong prescription more strict and difficult to follow?

As far as the eye is concerned, Jesus had much more to say: “No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness. See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you.” (Luke 11:33-36).

And yet if darkness continues to reign in your body, what do you do? Jesus offers this drastic remedy: “If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell.” (Mark 9:46-48)

That would possibly be the ultimate eye surgery!

– R. R. Kelkar

4 November 2010