Living with Floaters and Flashes

 A few weeks ago, while my husband was driving, I was disturbed by moving lines on our windshield.  The windshield was obviously dirty, but lines don’t usually move around.  Ordinarily they stay put.  Returning home, everywhere I looked I saw spider webs – although on closer inspection, there were no spider webs. Later, as I tried to swat away the mosquitoes I was seeing, I realized I was having trouble with my left eye.  I was seeing things that weren’t really there. At my husband’s urging, I called for an appointment to see an eye doctor and got one for that day – immediately!  The doctor told me I had developed floaters, which, unfortunately, sometimes happens to people of “my age.” Ouch!  He said not to worry unless things changed.  If they did, I should call him promptly.

The next morning, as I walked through a dark house, I saw lightning streaks at the edge of the same eye.  Again, I called the doctor’s office and again was told to come right on in. After another examination, he still said things were OK.  However, he said my jogging days were over and I shouldn’t operate a jack hammer or a garden tiller!  He said (lucky me), “you may just have to live with your new friends.”

The floaters and flashes have subsided somewhat since that day; however, they are still there.  Now that I know what they are, I can work to look past them and go on with whatever I am doing.  I admit it is a bit disconcerting, but I am adjusting.

It occurs to me that spiritual life is a little like my floaters and flashes.  We tend to let things get in the way of our seeing the big picture.  Sometimes we have to look through floaters to see the beauty of God’s creation and His purposes for us.  Floaters can take many forms.  Like the floaters in my eye, certain circumstances, people and things can annoy us and obscure our vision.  This brings new meaning to the old saying, “You can’t see the forest for the trees.” The “floaters” and the “trees” give us a shallow perspective, and they must be dealt with in order to have a proper view of life.

Do you have things that annoy you, that frustrate you so that you are unable to be as productive as you would like? Can you look past your “floaters” and try to see things from God’s perspective? Can you be confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6)?  Do you have any floaters or flashes that thwart your view of God’s plan?

Psalm 19:8 states: The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes (NIV).  The NLT renders the last half of this verse this way: The commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight to life. Paul prayed that his friends in Ephesus would have the eyes of your heart . . .  enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe (Ephesians 1:18 NIV). Emphases are mine.

We do have to live with the floaters and flashes of life – things that Satan tries to put in our path to block what God really wants us to see.  But we have a choice to look past those things that annoy, frustrate and tempt us. We can develop spiritual “eyes” that focus on Jesus.  It takes work.  In covering the subject of floaters in an online medical dictionary*, it is noted that “over time you will become less aware of these floaters as the brain learns to ignore these retinal images.  Therefore, while some floaters may remain in your vision, many of them will fade over time and become less bothersome.” It is possible to train yourself to deal constructively with the annoying, frustrating circumstances of life.  Looking at things from God’s perspective is possible through the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).

  • Whatever things are true,
  •  whatever things are noble,
  • whatever things are just,
  • whatever things are pure,
  • whatever things are lovely,
  • whatever things are of good report,
  • if there is any virtue
  • and if there is anything praiseworthy
  • meditate on these things (Philippians 4:8)

Concentrating on Jesus and His example can prevent us from being chastised by Him as He did His disciples, Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear (Mark 8:17NIV)?

What is your one focus?

© Stephanie B. Blake

February 2010


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