I was in the first or second grade when I first remember going to the eye doctor. I don’t remember the details, but the optometrist told my mom that my light blue eyes were so sensitive to sunlight that I needed to wear sunglasses whenever I go outside.
My mom, of course, took me directly to the glasses store and bought me a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses. I wore them for about a week, and that was the end of those glasses.
In the 5th grade, I went to the eye doctor again. After having me read countless letters, the optometrist blurred the screen and said to my mom, “You see this right here?” He pointed to the screen. “This is how your son sees.”
My mom started crying at the realization of my horrible vision. Once again, she went directly to buy me a pair of glasses, and I wore them for about a week at school, maybe less.
I could get by sitting close to the board in most classrooms at school, and I found ways of just getting by at lunch and during recess. But I would wear my glasses at home.
A few weeks ago, I got a quick giggle when I came across an old photo of me behind my drum set with those golden clunkers weighing heavily on my face.
I just hated wearing glasses. They felt wrong to me. I knew many people wore them and even liked them, but I never accepted them as part of myself. When I had the chance, I would remove them for photos, and if I drew myself, there would be no sign of glasses.
One average day in the 7th grade, I was sitting on the couch watching TV, and I overheard my mom talking on the cordless phone to a friend from our old charismatic church about a healer coming in from out of town for a special Wednesday night service.
I liked the people at my old church; they were kind and loving. You got hugs from everyone. The sermons might not have always been biblically strong, but you could always count on the hugs.
I’m not for sure why, but I asked my dad privately if he would take me to the Wednesday night service to see the healer. Maybe it’s because I had previously expressed to my mom how I never wanted to be the kind of boys at church who sat in the front pews and seemed to cry in some dramatic worship performance every Sunday morning. As a young pre-teen, I wanted to be many things in life, but not one of them.
My father agreed to take me when he got home from work, and we drove across town together. I pretended to only be curious about hearing what the speaker had to say.
But that wasn’t the case. I read, heard, and even believed that God could heal. If there was any chance to have my vision restored, I was going to give this healing stuff everything I had.
We walked into an embrace of hugs and authentic smiling faces. People there were really so kind. Then the worship service started with the healer up on the stage.
I’m not really the singing type of guy in church, but I sang that Wednesday night. I sang every song, making sure I didn’t miss a word. I might have even lifted my hands–I’m not sure. What I am sure about is that I didn’t want to do anything that would jeopardize any chance of my eyes being healed. I cleared my mind and believed with all my might that I would be healed.
No one was going to be able to tell me that I didn’t have enough faith or didn’t worship God sincerely enough.
After a good 40 minutes of worship songs, the healer began his routine. He told us that God had given him the gift of healing. He explained that we could be healed if we had enough faith and truly believed. He quoted memorized scripture. Then he invited us to come down if we wanted healing.
A crowded line down the center isle appeared instantly, and I watched with my dad from a pew as people began to be healed.
People were healed from headaches, anxiety, back pains, bad dreams, tumors that they didn’t know they had, and many other things that were all really unfalsifiable.
My situation was clear. If I could see without my glasses, I was healed. If I still needed my glasses to see, then I wasn’t.
I reminded myself of everything that the healer said. I pushed out every ounce of doubt in my mind. I felt the rim of my glasses on my face and told myself this would be the last time I would ever need to wear them, and then I stood up to go stand in line.
A faithful and hopeful boy.
Doing his best to believe with all his heart.
When my turn in line came, the healer asked me what I wanted healing for. I told him about my horrible eye vision and how I wanted God to heal my eyes. The worship music continued as the healer spoke in tongues as he placed his hands on my temples and began to pray. After reciting a few Bible verses and praying some more, he finally declared that I was healed.
The people in the congregation hollered out praises that were mixed with the sound of a tambourine and music. I turned to walk back down that center isle believing with all my might that what the healer said was true.
After a few steps, I finally began to try to focus on something far away, but all I saw was a blur. But I didn’t put on my glasses because I didn’t want to doubt.
I sat during the remainder of the worship service pushing myself to believe I could see, but the fact that the healer appeared as nothing more than a blur on the stage was beginning to wear on me.
When the friendly congregation finally started gathering their purses and Bibles to begin their exiting round of hugs, I was forced to come to the truthful conclusion that I had not been healed.
Service was now over.
“Are you ready to go?” my patient father asked.
“One moment,” I responded and boldly walked back up that center isle and asked the healer why my eyes weren’t healed?
He replied, “Well son, sometimes it takes God a few days to complete a healing.”
He might as well said, “Well son, I’m a complete fake,” or “Well son, I’m really spiritually confused.”
Riding home with my understanding father, I felt a little like a fool, but I was fine. I wanted to, at least once in my life, give the whole charismatic healing thing one sincere chance. And I did.
Now let me clarify, I do believe God can heal, but his ways aren’t our ways. He can’t be placed in a box or be assigned to some specific formula for miracles. He’s far too big for that.
In my life I’ve seen some cases of church show business, but I’ve also seen a good handful of undeniable miracles. Even as I’m typing this, I have 20/20 vision, unaided by any glasses or contacts. So God did have a plan for my eyes to be healed, but it was different than what I had planned.