The Refiner’s Fire – How Clear is Your Vision?

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The Refiner's Fire

That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. – 1 Peter 1:7-9


In November 2010 I went to the local VA clinic to have a routine physical done. During the course of that physical one of the practitioners noticed that my right eye seemed to be swollen and puffy and that it appeared to be almost closed as compared to my left eye. She asked me a series of questions in regards to any past history of eye problems that I might have had and then referred me to the VA hospital to see an optometrist.

The optometrist performed the regular routine eye exam and it was discovered after several additional tests that a large dense cataract had developed on my right eye that was greatly impairing my vision. Because of the size and density of the cataract, I could not see out of my right eye and the optometrist could not see far enough into the eye to actually tell what might be occurring. What he did see was some past inflammation and deposits which concerned him. It was mutually decided that the best thing to do was to remove the cataract first and then see what else may be going on behind the eye that could be causing problems.

The results of the operation were not as hoped and at the present, even though I can make out some things with just my right eye, the vision is cloudy or hazy at best. Some things are still only shadows of gray, and some things I simply cannot see with my right eye at all, and especially as those objects are moved further away from me. Needless to say, attempting to read an eye chart with my right eye is futile at this point. Also, my peripheral vision is off which inhibits me from doing any late night driving. And so, that is the current status of my physical vision.

If I were to ask you the question, “How clear is your vision ?” , how would you answer? Most people would immediately assume that the question is addressing their physical vision and so they would answer the question accordingly. Each of us have our own level of physical vision based on our individual circumstances and health conditions. But, let us move out of the physical realm for a moment, and into the spiritual realm. Now, let me ask you the same question, “How clear is your vision?”

The Scriptures teach us in Proverbs 29:18, “Where there is no vision, the people perish”. There are some who have only tunnel vision. They can only see that which surrounds their comfort zone – their proverbial little box in which they live and no further. As a result, they miss out on tremendous blessings because they do not have the desire to venture outside of that sphere which is so well known to them.

We are reminded in Doctrine and Covenants 4:3 that if we have a desire to serve God we are called to the work. Please note that there are two parts to this Scriptural promise. First, we must have the desire to want to do the work, and then after the desire has been established, we are called to do the work. In everything that we do in this life, it is the desire – the true intent of the heart – for which we will be judged and give a final account at the great judgment bar of God. What we could have done, what we might have done, or what we should have done will not really matter. The question that will be put before each of us individually is “What did you do?” Or perhaps another way of asking the question would be, “How clear was your vision of eternal things?”

Someone has wisely said that the first step to getting to somewhere is to not stay where you are. With the desire to do the work, and subsequently being called to do the work, comes an invitation. The invitation that is extended is “Come and See”.  This implies that there must be some sort of action taken on our part. We have to put ourselves in motion – heart, soul, and mind. Several examples of this invitation being given can be found in the New Testament account of the Gospel of John. In John 1:37-39 for example, we read:

37 And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.
38 Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou?
39 He saith unto them. Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.

Further in that same chapter we read of the account of Philip and Nathanael in verses 43-46:

43 The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me.
44 Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.
45 Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.
46 And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.

And so, the invitation that is extended is not “sit still and watch” , but rather, “Come and See.”

There are others whose vision is extremely cloudy or hazy at best. They can sense that there is something far greater to have and to behold. They can smell of the sweet aroma and in a sense taste of the blessings that the Lord has prepared for them at His banquet table, but they can only see these things as it were looking through glass covered by the muddy tentacles of the world. For them, looking through the windows of the world can be compared to trying to navigate one’s way through an early morning fog. It is easy to tell that there are some things directly in front of you, but other things are dark and dim and merely shadows. Once the fog has dissipated, those things which seemed obscure become more focused allowing visibility to become more clearer. In the same manner, once the windows have been cleaned and freed from the tentacles that ensnare them, then are they able to have a sharper and clearer vision of those things that are eternal.

I will end my treatise this day by leaving us with the same question that I started with to meditate upon and ponder, and the question is this, “How clear is your vision?”