Yesterday my wife had a PTO meeting to attend, which gave me the rare opportunity to watch whatever I wanted on TV while she was gone, so like most red-blooded American males the clicker clicked and ESPN tuned in. The show was E60, a sports news magazine that covers some of the more personal interest stories in sports.
One story, titled “Blindside” was about High School freshman Charlie Wilks (see the video @ http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=4642733 ) who, because of a brain tumor, lost his sight at the age of five. It was an inspiring story of how a kid would stop at nothing to pursue his dream of playing football. His grandfather was an offensive lineman for the Kansas City Chiefs and played in the first Superbowl. The story covered all the obstacles and objections that Charlie had to overcome just to play football.
I couldn’t help but be moved by this young man’s story. There were so many lessons to take from it, like when a teammate admits that Charlie’s example makes him try harder. There’s also the lessons of hard work and determination. But, by far, the most thought-provoking of the entire segment was when Charlie stated his biggest fear. It wasn’t getting hurt. It wasn’t not making the team. His biggest fear? Getting his sight back.
You heard me right. There’s no need to re-read, and if you don’t believe it, hear it in his own words by watching it yourself. Charlie Willks biggest fear is getting his sight back. Why? Because he, like many blind people, envisions the world to be a perfect looking place, and he doesn’t want to lose what his mind’s eye perceives the world to be.
There are so many things to take from this. I could talk of this young man’s maturity as he learns to not only accept his condition, but chooses to thrive in spite of it. But as I mulled his words over, I couldn’t help but wonder about the spiritually blind. Could it be that the real reason that some chafe whenever they hear the gospel is because it threatens their perception of reality? They feel their little world is perfect, and Jesus’ call would shatter that world. His light of holiness would expose their flawed lives and sin-filthy souls, so rather than be cleansed and perfected, they choose ignorance and blindness.
Maybe some of you remember that dark existence. You might even remember the trepidation you first felt when the good news of the Gospel began to challenge your fictitious, perfect lives. But now you see. You see that the world is flawed, but you also see the danger before you are upon it. Remember your darkness when you proclaim sight to the blinded. Recall why they are fearful, and encourage them that Jesus wants to give them sight so that they can see the truth, and as Jesus said, “the truth shall set you free.”
If I could speak to Charlie, I would tell him how amazed I am at his abilities, how impressed I am by his spirit and determination. But I would also tell him not to fear sight, for although the world is imperfect and ugly at times, the beauty of God’s creation overwhelms the imperfections, and the same can be said of our re-created souls.