50:20 Vision

50:20 Vision

Tuesday, April 24 2018


I used to have perfect 20/20 vision.


That was until my early teen years, when I started to ruin my eyesight by reading in bed late into the night with a flashlight under my blanket. When I got caught, and my flashlight was taken away, I began kneeling on my bed by the window, putting my head behind the curtain and my book on the windowsill, and I would read for hours by the light of the streetlamp in front of my house. That trick, which was never discovered, was great for my reading ability, not great for me knees, and not-at-all-great for my vision.


Since then, my eyesight has continued to deteriorate. I have myopia and astigmatism – over the years have worn eyeglasses, then contact lenses, then had laser surgery done – and now, I also have presbyopia, and I am once again wearing glasses. Needless to say, 20/20 vision is a thing of the past for me.


But, over the years I've gained 50:20 vision.


Let me explain...


“We once saw a man draw some black dots.  We looked and could make nothing of them but an irregular assemblage of black dots.  Then he drew a few lines, put in a few rests, then a treble clef at the beginning, and we saw these black dots were musical notes. On sounding them we were singing:


Praise God from whom all blessings flow

Praise Him all creatures here below.


There are many black dots and black spots in our lives, and we cannot understand why they are there or why God permitted them to come.  But if we let God come into our lives, and adjust the dots in the proper way, and draw the lines He wants … and put in the rests at the proper places; out of the black dots and spots in our lives He will make a glorious harmony. Let us not hinder Him in this glorious work!” (Streams in the Desert I)


Psalm 145:17 says that “The Lord is righteous in all His ways, gracious in all His works.”  Everything that God does and everything that God permits is completely just and good, completely right and merciful.  Nothing is hidden from Him, nothing is forgotten by Him, and nothing lies outside His interest or His power.  Even the black stains in our lives – our sins, our weaknesses, our failures, our sadnesses – everything is there for a divine reason. Perhaps we do not see it, nor understand it, but God is definitely in complete control of all things. He knows what He is doing and He knows what He is allowing.


Romans 8:28ª says: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God …”  This is where our confidence lies: in knowing and in believing that everything that happens in our lives, everything, is worked together for our good by a God who loves us.   


One day, I was told about “50:20 Vision”:  one of God’s promises taken from Genesis 50:20 – the patriarch Joseph’s last words registered in the Bible. After having been sold by his brothers in Israel and taken to Egypt, after unjustly suffering in a prison, after interpreting one of Pharaoh’s dreams and then becoming the ruling governor in the land, Joseph saw his brothers and his father once again when they came to Egypt because of a famine.  They fell on their faces in fear and humility before Joseph, asking forgiveness for the wickedness and the sin they had committed against him years ago, and Joseph responded, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God?  But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.” (Genesis 50:19-20)


“50:20 Vision”: it means that I need never fear and should never give up – because even if people in this world and the devil himself think evil against me and do me much harm, God can and does work all those things together for good and will bring abundant life to me and to many others who only expected destruction and death.


Friend: how are you seeing your life lately?  As a collection of random black dots – all your sins and all your failures pointing only to disgrace?  Be encouraged and place your confidence in God. He is bigger and more merciful than all the black stains in your life. He will cause all things that have happened to you to work for your good. What the devil and other human beings have wanted to use in your life to destroy you, God will use for good to bring abundant life to you and to many.


Remember "50:20 Vision”.


And returning to and concluding with the music metaphor from above: “When the musician presses the black keys on the great organ, the music is as sweet as when he touches the white ones, but to get the capacity of the instrument he must touch them all.”  (Streams in the Desert I)


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