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Ed Jordan: Learning from the Blind


Posted: 11/2/18 at 9:30am. Column by Ed Jordan. 

Some years ago we were in the St. Paul/Minneapolis airport waiting for our return flight to Europe. It was running seven hours late, so we decided to go visit the Mall of America by catching a bus that departed right outside the airport.

We were discussing how we would recognize the correct city bus, when a blind man with a white cane asked where we were trying to go. We told him, and he said that we were at the correct stop.

As a bus approached, we tried to get our small children ready to board the bus. To our surprise, the blind man spoke up and said: “It is not this bus. It will be the next one.”

How did he know that? That bus closed its doors, and a few minutes later another bus approached. The man looked over his shoulder and said, “This is our bus.”  To this day I am still amazed that this man could recognize the sounds of the different buses.

I was recently reading some quotes by Helen Keller, who at the age of two had a medical problem that left her both blind and deaf. A lady named Anne Sullivan began tutoring her through the sense of touch to be able to read Braille.

Helen later attended Radcliffe College, where Anne Sullivan interpreted the lectures to her. Helen Keller went on to overcome handicaps in order to help others who were blind, and she also wrote numerous books.

Are we so emotionally fragile that we explode at the least inconvenience, or do we slow down and engage our minds before we engage our mouths?

In a book by W. J. Federer, entitled Great Quotations, I found four important things that Keller said that we should learn. These are: To think clearly without hurry or confusion, to love everyone sincerely, to act in everything with the highest motives, and to trust God unhesitatingly.

I believe that the blind gentlemen who helped us get on the correct bus years ago in St. Paul demonstrated all four of these traits. He was calm and composed, cared about us and others, acted with the highest motives, and trusted God that the next bus was indeed the one we needed.

I find it astounding that people who normally would have a lot to complain about can rise above those handicaps and be calm, civil, and helpful while maintaining a good attitude toward God and toward others.

So what about us? Are we so emotionally fragile that we explode at the least inconvenience, or do we slow down and engage our minds before we engage our mouths? Are we so full of our needs and our wants that we lack perspective? Or do we consistently and sincerely treat others with love?

Do we obsess when we are dealt a bad hand in life, or do we rise above our first knee-jerk reactions and learn to live above our handicaps? Are we seeped in negativism, or are we looking for positives? Do we stay mad at God, or do we ask God to forgive us and give us the grace we need to trust him no matter what?

In Matthew 11, after John the Baptist was arrested, he sent some people to ask if Jesus was indeed the long-awaited deliverer sent by God.

Jesus told them to look at the evidence and then go tell John what you see and hear, which is (as recorded in Matthew 11:5–6, NLT): “The blind see, the lame walk, those with leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor.” And he added, “God blesses those who do not fall away because of Me.”

There are various types or blindness, including literal, figurative, and spiritual blindness.  Jesus literally gave some blind people the gift of sight; he also helped people to see blind spots in their own lives.

People who really don’t understand the uniqueness of Jesus are often blind to what God did in the person of Jesus. To those he gave glimpses of who Jesus really is, if they were willing to see.

Each day we should ask the Lord to show us the things in our own lives that we cannot see and to reveal to us how to deal effectively with those things. We need to acknowledge that all of us have blind spots and need others to point out what we are blind to in our lives.

Anger and bitterness blind us to the other positive things happening in and around our lives. We should all pray, “Lord, open my eyes that I might see life as you see it and that I might also see my own life from your perspective! Amen.”


ed-jordan2Award-winning columnist Dr. Ed Jordan is pastor of Gwynn’s Island Baptist Church, Gwynn, VA. You may also read his past columns.

He can be reached at szent.edward@gmail.com.