Did you know there are some incredible athletes who run track events, marathons, trail races, and do other amazing feats without normal vision? One such woman ran a 500k road race. Another man lined up at Western States 100. Some of these athletes have a small amount of usable vision, such as they can see a little bit of light and dark contrast. Or they have can see some of what we see , but not the center or the periphery. They are considered legally blind for medical and other purposes, such as being able to receive extra assistance or accommodations in life . Their vision is so limited that they need a guide or a stick to get through a race and they must develop and use their other senses to function efficiently in life .
Have you ever closed your eyes and tried getting around your house? It’s not too hard because you have an idea of where you are. But have you ever closed your eyes while running or walking down a sidewalk ? That feels scary ! Or had your vision temporarily affected such as in fog or in a very dark room? You immediately try to compensate for the blindness by slowing down, listening , reaching for things to feel your way . Sometimes people gradually lose their vision and they make adjustments gradually . They stop reading , then driving , then doing other things that require good vision.
But what if you don’t realize that you’re not seeing as well as you should be? I often bump into doorways and trip on objects that are right in front of me because I have lost some of my peripheral vision. This is not fun on a trail! It’s made me quite cautious. I honestly cannot fathom running without being able to see , especially on trails. I like to know what’s ahead , in running and in life. The amount of trust that these blind runners must put in their guides blows my mind, as well as their ability to follow directions without seeing. Want to be a guide and help runners achieve their goals ? Here is a great website.
Running blind with a guide is very much like how Christians put their faith in an unseen God and follow his directions without being able to see where they are going. We know the destination, eternal life, but we can’t see the map. Sometimes we are told to follow Him, and sometimes we are told to wait for Him. But we always know that he has the whole map and is guiding us along . We might trip over some obstacles from not listening well , or into traps set by our enemies, but He helps us up . We know the road is narrow that leads to victory , but we get distracted from his guiding voice and off we go into a ditch!
The difference between these blind runners and some people is they know that they are blind. Some of us still think we have 20/20 vision and don’t need guidance. We don’t know what we can’t see. Have you ever been outside in bright sunlight and then you put on those fancy polarized sunglasses that make everything super clear? Suddenly your perspective changes from squinting to Wow! Look at those flowers and that little bug and the sky is so blue! They even make glasses and binoculars and cameras to see better at night! Check these out. With these special colored lenses you see things that were previously invisible to your own eyes and brain. Your brain and eyes work together to ‘see’ things. God has truly created a most amazing body and the eye is one of the most complicated and important organs.
When you put on those glasses and suddenly see the previously hidden dangers in your path, that’s similar to how it feels when God opens your eyes and you see yourself through His perspective. You are no longer blissfully ignorant! Your pride and sin becomes a glaring, ugly mess and His offer of mercy and forgiveness becomes as beautiful as a mother’s love, a gorgeous blue sky , a trail sign or a race marker. The new realization that you are lost and in danger is shocking, but can be lifesaving if you do not deny the truth. But if you are only seeing what your own eyes see , you may see safety and security, and think you are a basically good person. You may not see the God-defined faults that are outside your limited , world-defined field of vision. You may not have seen all the traps and dangers that God has protected you from , or been aware when he rescued you from your mistakes.
God sees everything. He knows all about you , your hopes and fears and pet peeves and secret thoughts . He knows your blind spots and stubbornness and the dangers you face . And he wants you to be saved . He wants to give you new life and eternal life! Ask Him to open your eyes today! Put your faith in Jesus , whose sinless life, sacrificial death, and miraculous resurrection took away the power of death and sin for those who believe . Only then can we see our need for a guide through this life saved and have a godly perspective of ourselves and others . The world’s perspective is limited and damaged by sin and will lead to danger and destruction. We need the one true God, the creator of the universe, the judge of all mankind , to help us finish this race.
“I will lead the blind by a way they do not know, In paths they do not know I will guide them I will make darkness into light before them And rugged places into plains These are the things I will do, And I will not leave them undone.” Isaiah 42:16
The LORD opens the eyes of the blind; The LORD raises up those who are bowed down; The LORD loves the righteous; Psalm 146:8
Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; and leading him by the hand, they brought him into Damascus. Acts 9:8