Posted by: Heather | July 29, 2010

What Do You See?

Proverbs 7:2  Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye.

It’s been another busy week as usual at our home.  I like to think that things slow down in the summer time, but somehow, that just never seems to happen.  For the last couple of weeks, I have been a constant chauffeur from one activity to another.   Two days each week for the month of July and the first week in August, I find myself on the doorstep of Industries for the Blind.  This is a local organization that employs many blind and visually impaired individuals in our area.  Their main business is making mattresses, which they sell in their on-site store, as well as other contract sewing jobs, often for the US government.

The reason I find myself there is because my oldest daughter was given the opportunity to attend camp for the blind and visually impaired there this summer.   When she was a baby, she was diagnosed with a condition called oculocutaneous albinism.  This simply means that her body doesn’t produce enough pigment.  It’s evident in her hair, skin and eyes.  She’s an extremely fair-skinned, platinum blond teenager now, and all without the aid of any bottled chemicals.  As a newborn, she was the hit of the nursery, because most had never seen a child with a head full of absolutely white hair.   Nurses would stop me in the hallway when I was wheeling her around during my daily walks, and exclaim, “This is the baby I’ve been hearing about!”.

It was also interesting to go out to eat.  We used to go on an outing with my mom most every week, and often enjoyed going to a Mexican restaurant.  The waiters there couldn’t help themselves…they would stand at the table and stare.  I suppose the sight of a fair-skinned, platinum blond, ice-blue-eyed baby was enough to stop them in their tracks, because this was something they didn’t see often.

My daughter has definitely enjoyed much of the attention she gets because of her appearance, especially considering she’s a drama queen in her own right.  However, there is a down side to all of this.  The lack of pigment production in her eye means that she has low vision.  We had been told most of her life that her vision was corrected at its best to 20/100.   That means that she needed to be 20 feet away to be able to see something people with normal vision can see from 100 feet away.

Several months ago, I felt the need to take her to a specialist she had not seen before, just to see what his opinion was, and if there was anything else she needed to help her see better.  This specialist has a good reputation for working with children that have visual impairments.  The news wasn’t exactly as I expected.   This new doctor told us that most likely her vision had been misdiagnosed all of these years.  He informed me that the equipment in many regular offices may not be sensitive enough to accurately detect the difference between 20/100 and 20/200 vision in people with this condition, and that it was very likely her vision had been best corrected at 20/200 since she was small.   This earned her a distinction we were not pleased with.  It meant that she is now medically considered ‘legally blind’

During this exam, I was able to see a picture of her retina…the back of the eye.  This test is apparently a relatively new technology.  We’d never had one of these before.  In normally sighted people without albinism, the film looks somewhat dark from the pigment, and you can see the blood vessels and such behind the eye.  Hers was as bright as the sunshine at noon on a clear day.  The reason for that is because without the proper amount of  pigment, the eye cannot easily control the amount of light that gets into the eye.  The pupils don’t dilate normally.  With too much (or not enough) light in the eye, sharp vision is not physically possible.  The eye is created to let in precisely the amount of light it needs to form sharp images that we can see clearly.   The pupil is the opening in which this happens.  The pigment helps the iris (the colored area around the pupil) to contract and expand, based on whether the eye needs more or less light.

The writings of proverbs are attributed mostly to Solomon, the son of David responsible for building the  temple in Jerusalem.  He was known for his extraordinary wisdom.  Whenever we see the phrase the ‘apple’ of someone’s eye, ‘apple’ is referring to the pupil.   When this verse says to keep his commandments and his law, he’s asking his son to listen to what he has to say and obey it.  But the words used here for commandments and law are exactly the same as the ones God uses to talk about His Word and His commandments.   Commandments is ‘mitsvah’, meaning a command or precept.  Law is ‘Towrah’, meaning instruction.

We don’t really have much of a problem with the word commandment, but law…now that’s another story.  We have a bad connotation of this word.  When we think about breaking the law, we think of imprisonment, or the consequences we would suffer if we were to break it.  However, the word torah, which is translated law in the King James, actually means ‘instructions for living’.  In Hebrew, the picture that goes along with this is a child crawling up in its mother’s lap, and learning to live.   The Torah itself is composed of the first 5 books of the Bible, and it contains the commandments set forth by God to the Israelites.  It was by these instructions they knew whether or not they were breaking the commandments of God.  If they did, it was sin and had to be atoned (sacrificed) for.  This is why the Bible tell us:

Romans 6:23  For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

When Jesus came, and died for our sin, he immediately did away with the need to sacrifice animals to receive atonement.  His sacrifice once and for all atoned sin…past, present, and future.  However, without the law (instructions), there is no framework by which to live.  Just as if all government and laws were removed from our society, we would become in a spiritual state of lawlessness without God’s instructions.  There must be a law to know if we break it or not, and without it, there is no conviction of sin.

I’m not in any way suggesting that we can earn salvation by keeping the law.  However, the Bible is full of instructions by which we are expected to live, and all of them have their basis in the original Torah (Genesis-Deuteronomy).  If we do away with the teachings of the Torah, or the Old Testament in general, which is what many suggest, then our framework for holy living is gone, and there is no gauge of how to conduct ourselves.  Jesus came to fulfill the law, not do away with it (Matthew 5:17).  We’re still expected to live holy lives, set apart for His use.   So, I am suggesting that God’s instructions are still the gauge by which we know if we’re walking ‘in the light’.  We know by them whether we have committed sin.  Being a doer of God’s Word, and not only a hearer (James 1:23) allows us to gauge our true spiritual condition.

When God created the universe, He created it to function under the authority of laws.  The laws of gravity, motion, and thermodynamics are only 3 of the multitude of laws that govern the existence of the physical world.  This is how God created everything…to live by laws.  When laws are broken, consequences result.  There’s no way we could imagine our lives without laws if we really think about it.  Without natural laws, life would simply be chaos.  How do we think we can get by without obeying God’s commands?  There are still  consequences to pay for breaking them.  In fact, many of the instructions set forth in the Old Testament helped the Israelites become a people of great renown.   When they did as God commanded them, they were a powerful, extremely healthy nation that stood as an example to all around them.

When we take our daughter somewhere, her appearance often commands attention because of her physical differences.  In the same way, our light, by our obedience to God’s commands, should shine before men so that they have no doubt we are ‘children of light’.

Matthew 6:22-23  (New Living Translation)  “Your eye is a lamp for your body. A pure eye lets sunshine into your soul.   23  But an evil eye shuts out the light and plunges you into darkness. If the light you think you have is really darkness, how deep that darkness will be!

When we use any other measure besides the instructions of God in the Bible to gauge our spiritual sight, we live without adequate light.  Just as light enters the pupil at the precise rate to produce sharp, clear vision, so do the commandments of God give us the light to have definition and clarity of spirit and mind to live in  a world that is consumed with darkness.

What do you see?   Is the ‘apple of your eye’ pure by the standards of God, or murky with the cares of this life?  If your vision is cloudy today, there is one remedy…simply turn on the light!

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Responses

  1. “Apple of my eye”. for the first time today i have such a different perspective of what this implies in light of us and the world. I cant wait to tell somebody. I hope u do not mind me sharing yo article with others. I will acknowledge you….May you have dozens upon dozens of memorable moments with yo family, and shine on. In my language we say “Newe shainawo”!!!!Shine bright

    • Thank you for your comments! I would be very blessed if you’d like to share anything on my blog with others. God bless you! It excites me that you’re so excited! 🙂

  2. Heather, I only found time to read this today and I’m glad I waited. This is a perspective that i needed today and it just wouldn’t have “sounded” the same even yesterday.

    You are such a blessing to me. Thank you for your friendship and your willingness to follow God’s call to share your wisdom.

    I love you, friend

    • Thanks, everybody!

  3. REALLY, REALLY, REALLY GOOD! Excellent analogy!

  4. Thanks again Heather dear friend… My light was blow out by a dark subject today. Love you. I still remember mom praying for Charity when she was a tiny baby before mike and I found our way back to church. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Thank you Heather for blessing my day with your words of wisdom!


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