Witnessing the OmniPresence of God


                                 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
          rhode 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 rhode 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.

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