© Copyright 2007 by Phil Scovell - All Rights Reserved
16 Witnessing the OmniPresence of God By Phil Scovell I have been totally blind due to detached retinas since I was 12 years of age. During a six month period eye had a dozen operations on my retinas. On the 13th of November, 1964, I was pronounced totally blind, never to see again, and sent home from the Iowa City University Hospital in Iowa City, Iowa. This date had greater significance to me personally because this was the exact day, one year earlier, when my father died unexpectedly. Some may wonder about my attitude toward blindness. Most of the time, over my life, I have been pretty positive about it all. As a teenager, I did everything I wanted to do. I roller skated on the sidewalk in front of our home. I climbed trees. I even rode my bike when I had blurry watery light perception and could stay on the sidewalk. When that no longer worked, my younger sister and I rode a tandem bike a lot. I swam, ice skated, fished, ran, joined the wrestling team at school, became a ham radio operator, and did just about anything else I desired. Once and awhile, I found a limitation. Normally, I worked around them and found it didn't bother me all that much. At least, not until I became a father. Sandy and I have three children. They are all groan and married now and we have five grandchildren. All three of my children and all of my grandchildren see normally. My wife, by the way, is also totally blind. So, neither of us drive. When my oldest son turned 16, we purchased our first car. We were all in hog heaven because we no longer had to depend upon others to go anywhere. You can't imagine the freedom that gave us as a family. One night, we all went out to eat as a family. On the way home, I decided to ride in the back to get a feel for how the car rode. As we drove home, I felt a sadness, or a depression, settle over me. I couldn't figure out why. Thinking about it carefully, I suddenly realize what was wrong. My oldest son, just 16 years old, was doing what I had always dreamed of doing. Not only that, he was driving for the family and that was something I should be doing as a father. I could tell many other similar stories which caused me, rightly or wrongly, to sharply focus on what I couldn't do as a blind person. Yet, it still did not overwhelm me until a few months after the purchase of that first car. All three of my children attended the same Christian school. My oldest son, still 16 at this time, drove them to school. One afternoon, as they just pulled away from the school, they sat at a light waiting for it to turn green. My son's foot slipped off the clutch, the car rolled forward and bumped into the back of another car. That car, in turn, rolled forward and bumped into the car ahead of it. Our car was a Honda but the other two cars were large vehicles. As it turned out, the other two drivers were mothers who had just come to the same Christian school to pick up their own children. The Christian women screamed and yelled at my children, though there was little damage done to their car, yet they still put on quite a demonstration of their Christianity. My daughter had run to a nearby store and called me and told me everything that was happening. I tried calling everyone I knew in order to obtain a ride to get to my children. People were either not home or did not have a car available. I thought of calling a cab but it was rush hour traffic and getting a cab would have been out of the question. Plus, my children were not far away and I knew getting a cab for such a short distance would also make it impossible for me to arrive before my kids would be home. I had to wait, frustrated and helpless, for over an hour until they got home. Once home, they told me the whole story of how rude the Christian ladies were and how upset they were being yelled at by these adults when such little damage was done to their cars. When my children went to their separate rooms, I sat in my office. The weight of my blindness and my inability to help my own children at a very difficult time nearly crushed the life out of me. I sat, all alone, and cried. I have never felt so alone and so helpless in my life. Additionally, I had never felt my blindness that strongly before and I hated it. Many years later, while praying with a counselor, this event came to mind. We examined the emotions I had related to this memory to see why it kept returning. I was mad and angry that I was blind and couldn't get to my children to help them. I was mad at God for allowing me to be blind. I hated myself for being blind. All these emotions pressed in upon me as we prayed. As my mind focused on this past painful event, the Lord showed me something very unusual. Although I had no spiritual vision of any kind, I saw the Lord standing with my kids on the sidewalk. He said, "Your children weren't alone because I was with them." Although it was comforting to realize the Lord was with my children, still, my anger burned. I couldn't be with them. I expressed my anger toward God for my blindness, for my fear, and total feeling of helplessness. I said, "So where were you when I needed you the most?" The Lord said, "While I was with your children, I was with you as well." I suddenly sensed the presence of God in my memory as though He were right in the room with me. Instantly, my theology came to life and I realized what the Lord was trying to show me. No one can explain the omnipresence of God because it is impossible to do so. Yet, that day, as I prayed with my prayer partner about something that had deep pain in it, the Lord showed me how His omnipresence worked. I felt the Lord's healing come into that painful memory and I was set free of the heavy wait of blindness I was carrying. I knew my children were taken care of that day and I knew the Lord was equally with me in my sorrow and frustration, as He was with my children, because He was in both places simultaneously. That memory event no longer contains pain. I can return to it again and again and not feel any of the negative and painful emotions I did at the time. I praise God for not only healing the pain of that event which I had carried around for years but for revealing a Biblical truth I had never understood before. I still do not understand the omnipresence of God but I can truthfully say, I have experienced it and know the Jesus is with me wherever I am.