I had Lasik eye surgery on April 21, 2011. My eye doctor, Dr. Runyan referred me to see Dr. Stahl in Dayton, OH. Dr. Runyan told me that Dr. Stahl does Lasik surgery for free for pastors. Because of the demand I was put on a two year waiting list.
My name finally came up and the process started. The whole process put me in mind of the Gospel. What is Lasik eye surgery and how does it relate to the Gospel?
Lasik is a procedure that corrects distortions on the retina caused by irregularities in the cornea or lens of the eye. Glasses or contacts help compensate for the eye’s imperfections. Lasik surgery is the precise and controlled removal of the corneal tissue by a special laser that reshapes the cornea and gives it focusing power!
Lasik reminds me of the Gospel in several ways:
One, I had to face the fact that I had a vision problem. I wore glasses from my college days until 1998. In 1998 I got hit in the face with a softball and it shattered my nose and glasses. Since then I wore contacts and had nose surgery. I was content with contacts and had no desire for Lasik.
It wasn’t until Dr. Runyan showed me how bad my vision was and told me about Dr. Stahl’s free program for pastors that I accepted the idea of Lasik surgery. Once I saw how bad my vision was and how Lasik could give me 20/20 vision I was sold on the idea of surgery.
It’s not until we first see our sins that we see our need for the Savior. Until someone acknowledges that they are not a good person, (no one is, except Jesus), they are lost and in the dark. All liars have their part in the lake of fire. No thief will enter heaven. God considers lust to be adultery and hatred to be murder. Anyone who takes God’s name in vain has committed blasphemy.
God cannot and will not over sin. In His goodness and justice He will punish lawbreakers. So, we’re all guilty and we all deserve hell. That’s the truth. Doug Graham is bad! I’m a sinner. And my problem is I’m not holy, and God requires holiness to see Him.
I have learned if I go to heaven, it’s not because I’m a good person. It’s because I’m a bad person forgiven by a very good God.
It took Dr. Runyan to show me my blindness. And it takes a witnessing Christian to point out our need for the Savior. God’s wants us to share the Gospel with unbelievers so they will not perish on the Day of Judgment but be born again.
Days before my surgery I had to be out of my contacts, so I had to wear these cheap thick glasses. Sometimes we can be so thick headed that we think, “I can do this myself. I don’t need Christ, I can do more good in order to make up for all the bad I’ve done.”
That’s called pride and self-righteousness. Humble yourself before God and admit that you need His Son as your Savior. Without Christ, you’re in the dark!
Two, I had lots of questions about this surgery. What’s the success rate? Is it painful? Will I be blind for the rest of my life if I move my eyeball? The staff and Dr. Stahl answered all my questions.
The laser moves with my eyeball. 99% of their patients have 20/20 vision, and there was absolutely no pain. As Christians we have to be ready to give an answer for the hope that is within us with meekness and fear. (1 Peter 3:15).
Three, I had to completely trust the doctor. They did a lot of tests on me. They were precise in their measurements. They had a perfect map of my eyes. They’ve been doing this for years. Their instruments were in great shape. Dr. Stahl is one of the best.
When I went under the laser I had the utmost confidence that things would be ok. Dr. Stahl is a Buckeye fan like me. During the procedure, I was so calm that I almost started talking to him about the Buckeyes, but I thought, “Maybe now is not a good time.”
God has given us His Word. It is perfect; it is infallible, inerrant, and sufficient. We can trust His Word. He keeps all His promises. God has never failed, not even once. God is perfect and holy. He knows our heart and mind better than we do. He knows our past, present, and future.
Even during our most difficult times of life, God is all powerful, He is unchanging, and He never leaves us. We can trust Him with our life and our destiny. We have nothing to fear or worry about. Our God is in control! Fear can be replaced with His peace.
Four, I experienced a radical transformation! Before Lasik surgery I couldn’t see anything without my contacts. The procedure wasn’t very long. They sent me home wearing goggles and they told me the blurriness was normal and would soon go away. I had to take a 2 hour mandatory nap.
When I woke up from that nap, I looked around the room and I could see perfectly. No halos, no pain, no contacts, and no blurriness. I still needed to use my eye drops and wear the goggles at night for a week, but my vision was now 20/20. I had new vision power!
When you repent of your sins and place your trust in Jesus Christ to be your Lord and Savior, He radically changes you. You move from darkness to light, from being lost to found, from blindness to sight, and from spiritual deadness to spiritual life!
Jesus Christ died on a cross to take our punishment. He took our place. He paid our sin debt and He purchased our salvation.
He made a way for us to be saved, forgiven, and granted us everlasting life. He said, “Unless you are born again you cannot enter the Kingdom of heaven.” John 3:3.
“Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me, I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.” Being born again is a radical transformation!
Five, we have an awesome Creator! The human eye is amazingly complex. It has 40 individual subsystems, including the retina, pupil, iris, cornea, and optic nerve. The retina has 137 million light sensitive cells that send messages to the brain.
There is no way two eyes, let alone one, would evolve over billions of years. God gave us eyes to see, yet we use them to lust or serve the idols of our heart.
Who in their right mind would sell both of their eyes for 20 million dollars? We value our eyes. But Jesus taught us that we should value our soul a lot more than we value our eyes. People sell their soul to the devil and to idols, but they won’t sell both of their eyes for 20 million dollars.
Jesus said in Matthew 5:29, “If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you, for it is better to enter heaven without an eye, than go to hell with both your eyes.”
Our soul and our salvation is more important than our health and eyesight. Our priorities must change! We must worship the Creator and not His creation. What do you love more?
Six, I was given a free gift! There is no way I would have been able to afford Lasik surgery. Dr. Stahl gave me a wonderful gift. I didn’t do a thing to earn this gift. I didn’t pay him one penny. I just happen to be a pastor, and for some reason Dr. Stahl wants to bless pastors with better eye sight. Maybe he wants us to read better, or drive better, or see our congregation better, or see ourselves better. That’s a scary thought.
Dr. Stahl showed me grace. He didn’t have to take his time or resources to fix my eyes, but his sacrifice has caused me to see 20/20. The cost of Lasik surgery is $4,800. If you have the money it’s worth the price.
I can never repay Christ for His gift of grace. He took my sins upon Himself. He was treated the way I should have been treated. He died so I could live. He took my punishment while I get to go free. Christ paid a heavy price! It’s been said that grace is free, but it’s not cheap.
No amount of good works could ever purchase your salvation. All the religions of the world say the same thing, that you must do something to earn your way to heaven. But Biblical Christianity tells us that Christ did all the work necessary for our salvation through His sinless life, work on the cross, and resurrection. Christ offers us salvation as a gift, but we must receive it by faith in Him alone!
Titus 3:4-5 says, “But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us.” Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
All I gave Dr. Stahl was a thank you card with a Gospel tract inside which was the trillion dollar bill. I told him, “Thanks a trillion!” God’s grace shines through Dr. Stahl. We owe the Lord our eternal thanks for the gift of His grace!
Seven, 20/20 vision, but not perfect yet! I may have 20/20 vision, but my eyes are not perfect. When I hit 50 I will still need reading glasses, and when I’m a lot older I could still get cataracts. A cataract is a clouding of the eye that obstructs the passage of light. Growing in holiness prevents spiritual cataracts. Growing in holiness allows more of God’s light to permeate our lives and helps us to see Him better each day!
When we get to heaven, the Lord will give us glorified bodies! We’ll have new eyes, perfect eyes for all eternity! But until then, the Lord wants us to grow in holiness. Every day I use natural eye drops to give comfort to my eyes and to keep them healthy.
As Christians we must daily read the Bible and pray. Ask your closest friend if they think you are growing in holiness. Without holiness no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).
We need daily strength and wisdom to live in this dark and blinded world. Temptations and trials hit us all the time. It will take daily grace to live by faith until we see Jesus face to face.
Go to stahlvision.com for more information, but go to 2 Cor. 5:21 for eternal hope, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
Here lies the greatness of the Gospel: Jesus never become a sinner, He became our substitute. He was treated like a sinner, though He was not. God’s wrath was placed on Him and His righteousness was credited to our spiritual account.
God treated His own Son as if He committed our sins, and He treats us as if we only do the righteous deeds of the sinless Savior. Talk about grace. It’s been said on your worst day you’re not out of the reach of God’s grace, and on your best day, you’re not out of the need for God’s grace!
God wants to give you new spiritual eyes. Humble yourself before the Lord, turn from your sins, place your trust in the Savior, and God will give you sight. He’ll give you life!