I’m not really sure why a TV program from the 1960’s captured my attention. But I do perceive a correlation with the Christian life.
Years ago I watched an episode of the TV series “Night Gallery” which was written by the famous ‘Twilight Zone’ creator Rod Serling. The story was called “Eyes,” and it centered on a rich but self-centered woman who has been blind from birth. The woman is able to coerce a surgeon and a man who desperately needed money to repay gambling debts to perform a surgery which would give her the opportunity to see for the very first time. The money was a great sum; but the opportunity was limited to only about 12 hours.
The surgeon needed to protect his reputation – the woman used blackmail to coerce him. The debtor needed the money or he would lose everything. Losing his sight in one eye seemed like a small price to pay. So the surgery was performed, and the healing process started. Just as the bandages were to come off, a blackout occurred. Now everything was in total darkness.
The story goes on through this woman’s fighting through darkened city streets and strange shadowy encounters until she reaches a window in a highrise building at daylight. Finally – she can actually see for the first time! But then her small time of vision begins to fade. The woman did not know that her sight was recovered, because she remained in the darkness.
I have enjoyed many of these Serling programs as a young man. His writing style is unpredictable and weighty. But I’m sure why this one episode has stayed with me for all these years. The story did cause me to wonder something about my own moments of darkness.
We pray for mercy and ask for forgiveness when we disobey God continually in one area of our lives. We pray for strength and the ability to overcome a nagging temptation to which we seem to fail miserably. Yet what if we pray for deliverance and to see clearly and make right choices, but remain in the same habit patterns that provoked the temptation in the first place? In other words, can we expect recovery of sight if there is still darkness all around us?
Paul tells Timothy to “Flee also youthful lusts” (2 Timothy 2:22 KJV21). Jesus warns us of the severity of remaining in sinful habits: “So if your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one hand or one foot than to be thrown into eternal fire with both of your hands and feet. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell” (Matthew 18: 8-9, NLT).
Christ’s words are sobering. It is almost better to live with physical blindness, than to condone a spiritual blindness that would rob us of eternal joy and freedom from corruption. It makes us seem so much like this self-centered woman, seeking relief at any cost for the darkness of our original sin nature, yet not coming into the light fully to escape the temptations which seek to hold us back and lie to us, telling us that we have not really changed.
Well, you have been changed and unchained! As our brother Paul the Apostle wrote, “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun” (2 Corinthians 5:17, NLT). The enemy of our souls continues to showcase reruns of the old movies that highlight our sinful past. But every day in Christ produces new episodes of this dynamic new life, filled with joyful interactions, solutions for dilemmas and hope-filled journeys to new places rich with wonder. Songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman called this new life, “The Great Adventure!”
No need to stay up late tonight to see how it ends – we win! Now can you see it?