Would you rather be blind or deaf? One might say, "I would rather be deaf than blind, for if I were deaf I could still see." But if you were deaf you would never hear the sigh of the wind in the treetops on a summer evening, like the sigh of infinite pity and sadness. You would never hear the breaking of the waves on the seashore, like the voice of eternity. You would never hear the matins of the birds, or the voice of the orator, or the voice of the mother, or the cry of a little child, or the whisper of love, or the voice of a great congregation uplifted in praise of the triune God.
Another might say, "I would rather be blind than deaf, for if I were blind I could still hear the human voice and communicate with my fellow man." But think of what you would never see—the waving blossoms on the trees in the springtime, the blue sky, the sun rejoicing as a strong man to run a race, the stars and the moon at night. You would never see the light in a woman's eyes, you would never look on the ocean as it rolls in splendor such as creation's dawn beheld.
Rugged Roman, thou that wieldest
Sword and sabre, spike and spear,
Iron-clad and iron-hearted,
Soul unmoved by mortal fear.
Ruler of an empire, glorying
In the light of peace imposed;
All thy fated foes securely
In a Caesar's grasp enclosed.
Seven hills on tawny Tiber
Vied with distant Ararat;
Sabine forests overwhelmed the
Valley of Jehoshaphat.
Though thine armies trample Zion,
Israel's King thou didst not see,
For thine eyes could ne'er envisage
Him from Whom thy heart would flee.
Vast the legions thou halt garnished,
Temples splendid, columns grand,
Lo! beneath a rod of iron
Broken, dashed, returned to sand.
Who shall stand when He appeareth?
Who may e'er abide His day?
Kiss the Son lest He be angry
And ye perish from the way.—John Cochrane, Vancouver
(Ps. 2. 10-12; 2 Cor. 4. 3, 4; John 12. 40)
Sadhu Sundar Singh, the Sikh who was converted and became a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, tells of a Buddhist monk he met in Tibet who had lived five or six years in a dark cave. When he went in his eyesight was good, but gradually in the darkness of the cave his eyes grew weaker till he was totally blind. (Eph. 4. 17, 18)
Myopia is short-sightedness. Oculists say it is brought on by always looking at objects that are near, so it is good sometimes to go to the hilltop and take a long view of the landscape. The Greek word from which 'myopia' is derived, in its verbal form, occurs only once in the New Testament, and is translated 'cannot see afar off' (2 Pet. 1. 9).
In the World War from 1914-1918 oculists were kept busy on eye-tests for soldiers. Glasses were provided when required but many of them were thrown away. The men were so short-sighted and so accustomed to a blurred vision that they felt uncomfortable in a clear world. If a whole army were short-sighted and refused glasses, it would mean instant defeat. (John 9. 40, 41; 2 Cor. 4. 3, 4; 2 Pet. 1. 9)
Galileo with his lens made discoveries that threatened to upset all theories previously held, so Christendom opposed him. One bishop refused to look through his telescope and see what Galileo had seen. He was wilfully blind and did not want the light. (Isa. 42. 18, 19; 56. 10; Matt. 23. 16, 24; John 9. 40)
When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest He returning chide,
Doth God exact day-labor, light denied?'
I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, 'God hath not need
Either man's work or his own gifts. Who best
Bear His mild yoke, they serve Him best.
His state Is kingly: thousands at His bidding speed,
And post o'er land and ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait.'—John Milton's Sonnet
(Prov. 8. 34; Isa. 42. 16-first clause)
St. Augustine told of a certain heathen, who showed him his idol gods, said, "Here is my god: where is thine?" then, pointing up at the sun, the heathen said, "Lo! here is my god: where is thine?" so showing him divers creatures, still upbraided him with, "Here are my gods: where are thine?" "But," said St. Augustine, "I showed him not my God; not because I had not one to show him, but because he had not eyes to see him."—Spencer
The sympathetic and inquisitive old lady at the seashore was delighted and thrilled by an old sailor's narrative of how he was washed overboard during a gale and was only rescued after having sunk for the third time.
"And, of course," she commented brightly, "after you sank the third time, your whole past life passed before your eyes."
"I presoom as how it did, mum," the sailor agreed. "But bein' as I had my eyes shut, I missed it."