I’m legally blind in my left eye, although I still have some limited vision in it. I’ve been partially blind since birth, but it is slowly getting worse. The ophthalmologist is doing all he can to protect the remaining sight and is telling me that, should I lose the right eye for some reason, “a little eyesight is better than none.” So he was concerned when, in doing a scan of my eyes, he found a large swelling on the retina of my left eye. He sent me off to a specialist to have it looked at.
It’s always a bit nerve wracking to discover a new medical uncertainty. I was concerned. Was it a tumor? Was it growing? Was I going to lose my limited eyesight? The retinal specialist took pictures and asked questions and determined it was not a tumor. The swelling slowly shrank over the next several months, but then suddenly in just six weeks it grew massively bigger and became surrounded by fluid. The doctor suggested a series of injections into the eye. Yes, that’s as bad as it sounds.
On the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday I got an injection. That evening I was miserable. The eye was throbbing with pain as the anesthesia slowly wore off. I couldn’t sleep. My eye felt like it was on fire and was constantly weeping. I called the doctor when the office opened and they ordered medication to alleviate the pain. Unfortunately, the pharmacy had to order the drops and told me it would take several days to get them. So I suffered.
We had scheduled a socially distanced Ash Wednesday service for the Village Church. In our parking lot, Pastor Mark played worship music, Pastor Eric offered a blessing and administered stickers of ashes, and I manned the communion table, offering bread and juice in small individual containers to the congregants as they came and went. We projected the song lyrics onto the church wall. It was beautiful. My eye throbbed the entire time.
In the church we have a chair we call the Healing Chair where people sit to be prayed over. As we cleaned up after the service, I asked Mark and Eric to pray over me. I sat in the Healing Chair and waited while they finished hauling in equipment and putting things away. Three-year-old Saoirse, wearing her little mask, came over and asked, “Pastor Rod, why are you sitting in the Healing Chair?”
I explained that my eye was hurting badly and that I needed prayer. She listened and nodded her head. She sat down on a nearby chair, bowed her head, and stretched out her hand toward me, and prayed, “Dear Jesus, please make Pastor Rod’s bad eye better.” I was choked up with tears of gratitude in the midst of tears from the pain.
I had a beautiful night of rest and woke up Thursday morning pain free. Pastor Mark and I normally breakfast together over Zoom on Thursdays, and Saoirse loves to pop in to regale me with stories and her plans for the day. When she answered my Zoom call, I told her my eye didn’t hurt anymore and thanked her for her prayer. She beamed with delight and shouted, “Daddy, Pastor Rod’s eye doesn’t hurt any more! Jesus fixed it!”
He did. I love that he hears the prayers of 3-year-olds.