Blurry Trees

By: Landon Collins

Last year, my wife and I took an early 10-year anniversary getaway. By early, I mean we took it at 9 years instead of 10. On the trip, I took a book that I had heard about by Bob Goff called Love DoesThe first day of vacation I took it down to the beach, turned to the first page, and I was hooked. Other than a few volleyball breaks, a lunch break, and sleeping, I didn’t put the book down and by the afternoon on our second day, I was finished. It was that good, and it helped that chapters were short (which I love). The only problem was that I only brought one other book, and it wasn’t nearly as good, so I gave up reading for the rest of vacation. Love Does has made its way into my top 5 books, and its border line top 3. I highly recommend it. In it, Bob shares the adventures of his life, his family, and his journey with Jesus. This guy put his cell phone number in the back of the book and invited anyone to call him just to say hello. When we lived in Waco, a young professional group was doing a book study on this book and someone gave Bob a shout out on Twitter so the next week he Skyped in with the group. He is so captivating that I told Erin that if he showed up on our vacation and asked me to take a trip with him, I might do it. She didn’t laugh.

A few months ago, Bob Goff came out with another book called Everybody Always: becoming love in a world full of setbacks and difficult peopleI pre-ordered a copy and have been making my way through it, although not quite at the rigorous pace as his first one.  In Everybody always Bob shares stories of his own life and his own journey of faith, along with stories from Scripture in an effort to help people love more like God loves. One of the stories he shares is from Mark…

They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?” He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.” Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. (Mark 8:22-25)

I have wondered why it took Jesus two times to make this guy see again, but I’m not sure I’ll ever know, or if it is even worth knowing. Regardless of why, there is something important to notice in this healing process. When Jesus heals this guy the first time, his vision comes back but it’s still a little fuzzy. He sees people, but they look like trees! I don’t think that’s what people look like. I love Bob Goff’s comments when he says,

“Even though we have been touched by God, we still don’t see people for who they are until something more happens in us. It’s not trees we confuse them for; it’s opinions and positions, social issues and status, titles and accomplishments and behaviors.” (Goff, Everybody Always, 99)

As I look around, it seems we have a similar problem. We have a hard time seeing people clearly. We have a hard time seeing people in the way God sees them. It doesn’t seem like it takes much to blur our vision these days: political positions, doctrinal beliefs, family practices, financial choices, worship styles, places of origin, and outward appearances all make things a little fuzzy.

After the first touch, Jesus asks, “Do you see anything?” This guy went from not seeing at all to seeing “trees”. He could have just been grateful and said yes, but he doesn’t. He is willing to let Jesus know exactly what is going on. He is willing to say, “I need another touch.” He knows that people are more than trees, and he wants to see them that way.

This is just one of several stories about blind people in the Bible. Bob Goff writes, “I wonder if the Bible has so many stories about blind people because many of them are in touch with where they are and what they need.” Perhaps we have a lot to learn from the people who are aware of what they need. I think we are all in need of clearing up our vision when it comes to seeing other people, I know I am. I pray we would be willing to ask Jesus for another touch. I pray we would be willing to see people as more than just trees, or a political position, or a doctrinal statement, or a cultural practice, or a list of accomplishments and failures; I pray we would see all people as children of God.

*Free Copy of Love Does for the first two people who email me




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