Saturday, August 1, 2015

vision and voice

"In him was life; and the life was the light of men.  And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not." (John 1: 4-5)

Imagine being blind.  Unable to see light.  Unable to know color.  Unable to distinguish or comprehend beyond the black void before you.  Now in addition to being blind, imagine you are also deaf.  Unable to hear any audible sound.  Sure, you have the ability to feel and touch.  You know which direction the wind is blowing while sensing the vibrations and movements of a world surrounding you, but you are unable to actually hear the mellow hum of the breeze or see the soft glow of the candle flame flickering about in it's path.  Blind and deaf... you feel alone, isolated, confused, useless.

This was reality for Helen Keller.  At age two, she lost her sight and hearing due to an illness.  As a result, she was unable to comprehend or communicate with the world around her.

So, was hers to be a life lost?
Was she to be left for dead and forgotten?

I'm happy to report, God had bigger plans for Helen.  Around the age of seven, Helen was visited by Anne Mansfield Sullivan.  Trained at the Perkins Institution for the Blind in Boston, Massachusetts, Anne quickly assessed that Helen was very, very limited in her ability to communicate.  If she was happy, Helen would laugh and giggle.  If she was unhappy, Helen would kick, scream, and scratch.  That was Helen.  That was her whole world.  So, Anne resolved to help Helen.  And fortunately for Helen, Anne came with an understanding of Helen's personal suffering and frustration.  You see, Anne had been partially blinded herself due to a severe eye infection.  She understood the same misery and knew that if Helen was going to survive and thrive, she would need to learn how to "see" and "hear" in a different way.  As time passed, Anne was able to win over Helen's trust and successfully teach her the basics of communication.  In retrospect, her loving guidance was paramount in restoring the life of a child once cut-off into a valuable person of worth, input, and contribution.

Later in life, Helen wrote about her first initial meeting with her teacher, Anne.  She said, "I felt approaching footsteps.  I stretched out my hand as I supposed to my mother.  Someone took it, and I was caught up and held close in the arms of her who had come to reveal all things to me, and more than all things else, to love me."

I love this true story.  I love it because it showcases in parallel the love of Jesus Christ toward mankind. Not just as an Almighty Creator, but as a Redeemer who took it upon himself to understand our misery personally in order to restore our lives eternally.  He came to walk among us.  To know our struggle.  To help.  Yes, he was tempted, hurt, happy and unhappy... for he was human.  Perfect, and human.  God, and human.  He knew firsthand our helplessness and mercifully gave his life as payment to save us out of the muck and mire.  Remarkably, he overcame death and returned to give those who love Him true hope past the hopelessness of the grave.  In Him is life; and that life is the light of men!  He is the beacon that guides.  His is the Word that corrects and instructs.

"I believe that God is in me, as the sun is in the color and fragrance of a flower, the light in my darkness, the Voice in my silence." (Helen Keller)

One day, everything changed for Helen Keller.  Anne Mansfield Sullivan decided to place one of Helen's hands under a spout of running water while also spelling out the word "w-a-t-e-r" onto Helen's other hand.  Suddenly an inner lightbulb turned on as the student felt the cool liquid pulse through her fingers.  It was at that very moment that Helen was able to connect the letters being pressed into her palm with the water flowing over her other palm.  Miraculously, she began to understand the new language of her loving teacher.  Later Helen shared "that living word" had awakened her soul, and "gave it light, hope, joy... set it free!"  

So, was hers to be a life lost?
Was Helen to be left for dead and forgotten?

Thankfully, no.

Helen Keller was the first deafblind person to earn a bachelor of arts degree.  She wrote a total of 12 published books and several articles.  She became a world-famous author, political activist, and lecturer and traveled to over 40 countries in her full and honored life.  Isn't it remarkable what sacrificial love can set free?  I wonder who we might play paramount in restoring if we too, like Anne Mansfield Sullivan, offered even a small dose of such love toward another.

"There is no better way to thank God for your sight than by giving a helping hand to someone in the dark." (Helen Keller)

"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." (Helen Keller)

"I cannot do everything, but still I can do something." (Helen Keller)

So, is yours to be a life lost?
Are you to be left for dead and forgotten?

How great is the love and new language of our King and Teacher, Jesus?  His living word awakens the soul and promises light, hope, joy!  Yes, Christ sets the captive free!  Sure, we may not fully comprehend His omnipotent Way with our human eyes and ears, but His new language has been made available to learn, to seek, to know, to find... to share!  His love is present and with us NOW.  His truth is certain and paramount in restoring our lives to whole.

To Jesus, we are valuable and worthy.
In Christ, we are made to offer input and contribute toward His eternal kingdom of LOVE in our own gifted way.

(How I pray every person reading this little blog gets to know Christ intimately, for His love is better than life!)

"It is a terrible thing to see and have no vision." (Helen Keller)

"I thank God for my handicaps.  For through them, I have found myself, my work and my God." (Helen Keller)

So, let us start today thankful; for with Jesus we are no longer blind or deaf.  He gives us vision and voice.  He offers us a future so that we may LIVE this very moment in His hope!  Hallelujah to the King of kings!!!  Let us rejoice and share His love for HE IS GOOD!!!

"In him was life; and the life was the light of men."

Blessings and Happy Saturday, August 1st, y'all!!!


© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson


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