"Nothing wrong with my eyes," I joked to my optometrist. "It's my arms. They are getting shorter by the day!"

Her retort was instant: "We do have an arm-stretcher in the basement..."

Unfortunately for me, that solution sounded like something straight from the Middle Ages. As much as I don't particularly like wearing glasses, that particular alternative was far worse!

I was thinking about that as I searched for my glasses this morning. My cell phone was blinking, indicating I had received a message of some kind; but without that all-important pair of lenses balancing atop my nose, there would be no way I could read it. Even with longer arms. I eventually located the missing necessity, and as I poised them over my eyes, the words became crystal clear.

It's true that I've worn glasses for reading for more years than I can remember; yet each time I try to read without them, and then look at the same print with them on, I am truly in awe that something so small, something so simple, can make such a difference. It makes me think. There was a time when my arms were "long enough", and I spent hours of every day devouring written material without glasses. There was this one book, however, that I couldn't read, no matter how hard I tried. Oh, I could see the print clearly, but no matter how much time I spent trying to decipher those words, their meaning eluded me. The title of the book? The Bible.

I must not have been the only one whose arms were too "short", for there are thousands of volumes written to explain the meaning of its words. In fact, there are so many volumes that I even found the explanations confusing, for they seemed to contradict each other.

I decided then, that I would only read the volumes written by my own denomination. After all, they proclaimed the same messages taught from the pulpit each week. How could they be "wrong"? As time went on, however, I became a bit curious. What if my church's explanation of the Bible was wrong? What if this elusive book actually taught something different from what my church claimed? Should I blindly take their interpretation? Or should I read it for myself?

I decided to try again, and since my spiritual vision was still very poor, I "stretched my arms" by disciplining myself to get up early every morning and stay up late every night reading it. I even "stretched my arms" by forcing myself to read it through in a year. Unfortunately, no matter how much my arms "stretched", the results were the same: I still couldn't understand that book!

One day, someone suggested there was a pair of "spiritual glasses" that would help me understand. To be perfectly honest, I was incensed that this particular person would think I needed "spiritual glasses". After all, there was nothing wrong with my vision. It was just that my "arms" were still "too short"!

It was true, however, that all of my "arm-stretching" had resulted in nothing but sore shoulders and joints. What if there really were spiritual "reading glasses", something that would help me understand the Bible?

I decided to put God to the test. After all, it is His Word, so I humbled myself before Him and repented of my prideful attempts to understand His book on my own. I then began begging Him to give me those "spiritual glasses"...

Then one day, I received the gift of God's Spirit, and now, every time I open the Bible, its meaning is clear. It teaches me Truth. It speaks directly to my heart, giving me guidance in my day to day life and assistance in my walk with God. What a difference this has made!

Are your spiritual "arms" too "short"? Has your "arm-stretching" to date been painful but non-productive? Are you relying on the interpretation of others? Why not try God's Spiritual glasses? Remember, since God's Spirit inspired the book ("All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right." 2 Tim. 3:16 NLT), who better to interpret it? The next time you sit down to read your Bible, I encourage you to pray this simple prayer from your heart:

Dear God, please send your Spirit to unblind my spiritual eyes and unstop my spiritual ears. May Your word be: "a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." (Ps. 119:105 KJV). May Your Word, "living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword" (Heb. 4:12a ESV), truly pierce "to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow" (Heb. 4:12b ESV). May it discern "the thoughts and intentions of [my] heart." (Heb. 4:12c ESV)

You'll be amazed at the difference.

I must admit, however, that there are times when I put on my glasses and I still can't see...Join us on Saturday for "Arm-Stretching? Or Reading Glasses?" Part 2.

In His love,
Lyn



Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.

(To access the entire "Arm-Stretching? Or Reading Glasses?" mini-series, please click here.)