When you visit your optometrist, it’s good news when the exam reports 20/20 vision. However, we can struggle with nearsightedness or farsightedness. I heard a mother telling her daughter, “Look ahead. See what’s coming before you move.” That good advice for the street corner of life.

Have you ever asked yourself what kind of life vision you have? Nearsighted people deal with what’s directly before them. The immediate commands their attention. This kind of vision can often bring anxiety or frustration, especially when it seems we make little progress in dealing with the problems we face. After a while, near-sighted people can become discouraged or depressed. Life seems like it closes in and we wonder where to turn. We feel like a trap from which we cannot escape.

In many cases, dealing with the immediate present is a good course of action. However, focusing only on the immediate can bring pressure. A friend calls this the tyranny of the urgent! Living in fear is rarely a satisfactory choice.

On the other hand, some farsighted people refuse to deal with the present by putting off consideration of the immediate problems. Procrastinating in facing issues will not solve them. When the proverbial ostrich pulls its head out of the sand, it discovers that the object it feared is still there. He could not see it when his face was buried.

Ignoring our social issues will not make them disappear! We need to face them, to discuss our different “visions” of the world, and to seek appropriate compromises. Knee-jerk reactions don’t work; nor do blind eyes to our problems. We need 20/20 vision and leadership in our present struggles.

The Bible speaks to these issues. The second letter to the Corinthians, verse 18 says: “We fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but things we cannot see will last forever.”

The balance between nearsightedness and farsightedness is 20/20 vision. Positive living and discovering satisfactory solutions to enormous problems is in the balance between the reality of living in the “nasty” now and now and hoping for the “sweet by and by.” We cannot avoid the present by hiding our heads in the sand but we dare not ignore the eternal by living as if only today matters.

We applaud those “visionaries” who allow us to have clear horizons about our problems. Rage, riots and reaction cloud our thinking. What we see may only be more confusion. Clear reasoning allows us to see more clearly. Open minds and open hearts can find a path from the clouds into the sunlight.

The guiding principle is this: we cannot sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the immediate! Think about that!

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Dr. James E. Kilgore retired as President of the International Family Foundation and lives in Canton. His most recent book, LIVING WITHOUT LIMITS, was published in late 2019 and is available at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

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