When the nurse removed the bandage the day after cataract surgery on my right eye, immediately I noticed something strange and beautiful. The walls and medical equipment on the left side of the room were the normal tan tones of the office.
The right side of the room was aglow with a brilliant blue-white light. The colors on the walls and medical equipment were dazzling. It seemed I had one foot firmly on the earth and the other one in heaven, at least to the threshold of heaven’s supernatural colors.
The doctor explained that the swelling in the right eye with the new lens caused the unreal colors. Okay, but why the brilliant glow surrounding everything within view of the right eye? Whatever the cause, I enjoyed the euphoria.
So for several weeks I’ve lived with these phenomena, even when the swelling went down. I could cover my right eye and see the world in all its dull reality. Then I could cover my left eye and see everything as if bathed in the glow of heaven. The line between these two worlds was as distinguishable as the border between living in the kingdom of the world and the kingdom of God.
Living on the border
We live on the border between two worlds. We are so invested in this world that we are often unaware of the kingdom of God so close at hand.
Although we enter into God’s kingdom through our baptism, we often find ourselves on the outskirts. We are not far enough in to avoid the attacks of the enemy lurking at the border. We have one foot in the kingdom of God and one foot in the culture of the world around us.
We fight border skirmishes in the facets of our lives that we haven’t surrendered to the Lord. The most common are our mind, our possessions and our relationships. We are trying to have our own way and still be blessed by the Lord.
The voices of the world tell us to exert control over our problems with anger, manipulation and willpower. We are never to give in to anyone. Those voices instruct us in our right to invent our own standard, our own moral good, coming from our own desires and idea of happiness. As if we could ever have a better plan than our Lord does!
We settle for the dull reality we’ve always known. We miss the mark of total joy because we don’t understand how we can know God’s will or how we can live in God’s will, right across that thin line.
Kingdom of Heaven
With all the tension, chaos and suffering in our lives, we can choose to live in God’s will in that kingdom of inner peace that no one can steal from us. For the Lord designed us to freely choose him, to choose the life he created for our happiness. We only need to turn toward God to live in his glowing presence.
This week the left eye got a new lens. When the bandage came off, sure enough, the bright glow appeared, banishing all the dullness that seemed so normal only a few weeks ago. Now the dazzling light surrounds me like a spotlight that allows no hint of darkness to penetrate its territory. It reminds me of a chorus of “I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light,”
In him there is no darkness at all.
The night and the day are both alike.
The Lamb is the light of the city of God.
Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus.
Are you living on the border?
(© 2013, revised 2017 Nancy H C Ward)