222 The Espladade, Umina beach, 2257. 9th November 1988.
Thank you for caring and praying for me. I very much appreciate your concern and I'm touched by your strong and persistent faith in the power of prayer and healing ministry.
As I see it, prayer is an excellent way of getting close to God. There is also plenty of evidence that it can influence attitudes and events, although God knows what we need and want before we ask. I find as well that it helps in overcoming personal difficulties when I pray for others and become less self-centred.
I'm sorry I can't join you in your fervent prayers that I should receive physical sight. Of course I would be ecstatic if your prayers were answered, but when I pray for myself, other things seem more urgent. I need spiritual insight and strength. I need to find serenity and peace by concentrating more on God's perfection and less on human weakness and my petty dissatisfactions. When I pray for physical things, they are usually to do with improving the quality of my day to day life. I pray for safety when crossing roads or walking along railway platforms. I also pray for acceptance from other people – that they will see my blindness as a difficulty with which I need help, but not as my most important attribute.
It seems to me that God, having designed natural laws, usually works within them. When, in the first two weeks of life, I developed an eye infection, doctors didn't have the skill to cure it. Today, a Western baby acquiring that infection will not be blind, because much more is known about hygiene and medical treatment. You could call this increase in knowledge a miracle. You could say that God is working miracles through all the drugs, care and surgery which give sight to so many people.
When Jesus was on earth as a man he cured some sick people, gave sight to some blind people, even restored life. Yet although he had the power to remove disease and disability from all who had faith, or even from the entire world, he chose not to do this. Even the great apostle Paul retained his "thorn in the flesh" which could have been defective vision.
God has never intended to free, the world, not even the "elect". from hardship in life as we know it. Christ told his disciples the poor would always be with them. Yet throughout the world the poor are most vulnerable to disease, disability and early death. We should pray that the rich nations in our Western world will spend half their resources to diminish the massive problems caused by blindness and thousands of diseases rampant in places like India and Africa because of poverty and ignorance.
I believe God is more concerned with the way we handle our circumstances than with changing them for us. Last Friday I visited a sad little twelve-year-old boy who sits at his school desk all day and does nothing. He is gradually going blind. Nobody yet knows how to cure his condition, but Stan's family are convinced that a miracle will happen and he will see properly again. Instead of learning to live a useful, happy life without seeing, Stan is waiting. Perhaps, as his family and others pray for him, he is praying with all his strength – "Please God, I know you can restore my sight. Let me see again." He is praying and waiting for the miracle he knows will happen. Because of his faith in the future he is not interested in learning to walk alone or read a book with his fingers or get along with other kids. He is not using the gifts God has given him today; he is waiting for tomorrow's miracle.
Bill, I try, though not hard enough, to live fully and for God each day. I'm sure it would help me if you joined me in praying that today I will cheerfully obey God, especially the principles of 1 Cor 13. Nothing matters as much as love shared with God and love shared with people.
Sight is so important for getting knowledge, pleasure, freedom and a hundred other things and I encourage people to use it and take care of it. Yet the wisdom and faith to accept things as they are and to make the most of all we have, is even more important than sight. Thank you again for praying that I will receive sight. Perhaps you might pray as well that I will make good use of every day, with or without sight.
May God help us both to grow in wisdom and faith, so that each day, through what we say and do, other people will come to peace and courage through the experience of God's love.
The Lord bless you and keep you.
Leah Francisnext page