There’s a church in our area that enjoys putting thought-provoking sayings on their sign, and they have some pretty good ones, too. They are located on a busy comer where lots of people will notice what they say. Not long ago, as I drove by, I read on their sign: To some God gives sight; to others He gives vision. Sometimes the words sight and vision can mean essentially the same thing. For example, an optometrist’s office can be referred to as a vision clinic. But in the statement above I think you can see (pun intended) that the two words are to be understood in vastly different ways. To be able to see with your eyes is indeed a great blessing. But to have vision is extraordinary. To see the difference, let’s look at an account from the Bible.
The story is found in 2 Kings 6. During the time of Elisha the king of Aram laid siege to the city of Dothan, hoping to capture Elisha. He sent a strong army with horses and chariots during the night and surrounded the city. When Elisha’s servant got up the next morning, he saw (with his eyes) the vast army. Because all he saw was the army, he felt helpless, saying to Elisha, “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” But Elisha was not afraid. God had given him the ability to see beyond what his physical eyes could see. He told his servant, “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them” (2 Kings 6:16). And so he prayed that God would “open his eyes so he may see.” God then gave the servant the vision to see more than he had previously seen. God gave him the vision to see the hills full of horses and chariots of ﬁre (2 Kings 6:17). As the army began to attack, Elisha prayed to the Lord, “Strike these people with blindness,” which God did (2 Kings 6:18). The king of Aram saw his vast army and felt powerful. Elisha had the vision to see beyond physical eyesight. He had faith to see the power of God, and won.
Faith is basically having the vision to see what cannot be seen, or as Hebrews 11:1 puts it: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”
Many have read the accounts of Jesus healing the blind, but haven’t yet seen that Jesus’ healing illustrated more than compassion for the handicapped. It also demonstrated His power to give vision to the spiritually blind. I can’t help but laugh when I read about the spiritual blindness of those in John 9. Jesus had healed a man who had been blind from birth. In the story, only the blind man had the vision to see Jesus. The religious leaders didn’t (9:28). The man’s parents didn’t (9:20-23). Even the disciples didn’t (9:2). Isn’t it ironic that only the blind man had the vision to see Jesus? (9:17, 38). Read the whole story. It’s fascinating.
Pity the man who can see the sunrise, but can’t see the Son who rose from the dead! Pity the man who can see the stars, but not the Creator of the universe! Pity the man who can see the plant that grows from a seed, but not the God who gives it life.
To some God gives sight; to others he gives vision. What an awesome thought!
Fruitland (MO) church of Christ
BULLETIN DIGEST (April 2012)