I was born cross-eyed with a severe astigmatism. When my eyes didn’t show any signs of improving on their own, the doctors told my mom and dad I would eventually go blind and they should be prepared to care for a child with a handicap. My dad’s faults include a strain of stubbornness almost as severe as my astigmatism, but at that moment it was his greatest strength. He refused to accept what the medical establishment considered likely, if not inevitable.
The next morning at work, he unapologetically told his boss that he would be leaving work early every Friday for the foreseeable future. He was on the hunt for a doctor who could give his son a different prognosis. After months of searching, he found one—an eye specialist at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City who believed he could have me seeing the world (and not just the end of my own nose) with a new surgical procedure. So, at nine months old, I was sedated and wheeled into surgery. The operation was a success. Though I had to wear pretty thick glasses from then on and spent a good chunk of the next seven years rocking an eyepatch like a pirate, I could see.
Growing up, I thought I would have to wear glasses for the rest of my life, but my dad told me over and over again not to give up hope. “You were supposed to be blind, remember?” he’d say. And he was right. About three years ago, I went in for another surgery, and now I have nearly 20-20 vision. I don’t even own a pair of glasses anymore.
In the book of Revelation, it’s as if Jesus is standing up at the end of history, when all things have been made new and God once again dwells with His people, shouting back through time to encourage every believer not to give up hope. At any given moment in the present, things might seem bleak, but we were supposed to be dead in our sins, remember? “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end,” He says (Revelation 22:13).
We tend to think of Jesus in time and space, a Galileean carpenter with a band of disciples, beard on His face and sandals on His feet. There’s nothing wrong with this image of Jesus. He really did live in this world at an actual and definite point in history. We can still visit the places where He performed miracles, the sites where He preached, and the hill where He died for our sins. But that was the incarnation—the exception, the miracle in which God the Son stepped out of eternity to be born as a man. Here in Revelation, Jesus is “revealed” in His glory. As God, He knows the beginning and the end, so when He says things will turn out alright, we can trust Him. “I am the first and I am the last. There is no God but me. Who, like me, can announce the future?” (Isaiah 44:6–7). We just have to be stubborn enough to believe Him.
By John Greco