Why would God want me to be blind? I have asked this question many times. Why wouldn't He want the best for me? Why would He want me to have a disability which would prevent me from accomplishing tasks that other people take for granted--a disability which forced me into a role of dependence on other people who, more often than not, would rather not be bothered or who treat me as an inferior being worthy only of pity and patronizing compliments about how brave I am? And if this isn't what He wanted for me, then why is He allowing it? He is my Father. Wouldn't every father in his right mind want the very best for his child? What kind of Father is this who would allow these things?
As I think about these things, a random assortment of passages from the Bible come to mind:
"Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits-- who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good as long as you live so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's." (Psalm 103:1-5)
"Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive." (Matthew 21:22)
"So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." (Mark 11:24)
"And these signs will accompany those who believe: by using my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover." (Mark 16:17-18)
"But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him." (John11:22)
"I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son." (John 14:13)
"Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven." (James 5:14-15)
What does all of this mean, I ask myself, for me as I sit here struggling to come to terms with loss of my already very limited vision brought on by the raging complications of ROP?
I do not know the answers for everyone else. I am beginning to learn the answers which apply to me. I do not always like what I am learning, but I am strangely at peace because of these answers and very thankful for the many people whom God has gifted with compassion and understanding of His Word; for these are the people who have instructed me.
I think that for the most part I accepted the fact that I could not drive without question. I only remember becoming upset about the fact that I could not drive one time, and I'm not even sure it was my inability to drive which upset me. I was a junior in high school--16 years old, the age when most of my classmates were obtaining their driver's licenses. I overheard a girl in one of my classes telling someone that she planned to get a sports car because she didn't want everyone asking her for rides all the time.
How selfish, I thought. She has already forgotten what it's like not to be able to drive! If I could drive, I wouldn't be so selfish.
Similar instances have occurred since then, and though I never mind when someone politely tells me that she cannot transport me, I am extremely annoyed when people refuse out of sheer selfishness or inconvenience. Somehow this seems to go against something I was taught.
That something happens to have ingrained itself in my soul to a greater degree than it might have if I could see. In the Christian faith we are taught to be selfless, that other people's needs should come before our own. The roots of this teaching seem to lie in two teachings: Jesus' commandment, "Love your neighbor as yourself," and Paul's instruction to the Philippians, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition, but in humility consider others better than yourself." So conscious have I become of my dependencies that it is tempting to completely reject the compassion of others and to consider only the needs and preferences of others, even if this means that my own needs go unmet and that my own strength is drained. I now understand that the point of these teachings is not to create an inferiority complex but to provide a balance and to guard against true selfishness. However, all too often they come to mind when I am led to feel that my natural dependencies are a burden on others. There is a healthy and spiritually acceptable balance between satisfying my own desires with no consideration for others and giving so much of myself that there is no self left to give. One extreme is utter selfishness. The other is not admirable selflessness but pathological selflessness, extremely unhealthy, and not at all within the teachings of Jesus. This kind of selflessness is motivated by a sense of inferiority and a need to prove that I am not selfish and almost always results in feelings of resentment, bitterness, anger, etc. The selflessness which Jesus taught is motivated by love and dedication to a cause-- specifically, the cause of Christ. What is given--sacrificed--is given because the giver has an absolute sense of completness in Christ and self-worth based on the fact that God's grace and love supply all the love needed to bring a sense of peace.