Rick Taylor

Rick Taylor

Consider your blessings for a moment. More specifically, which of your physical attributes do you most value? For me, the answer is easy. It has always been my sight. For most of my life, I’ve had perfect eyesight.

Although I recognized my eyesight as a blessing, I took it for granted. Well, that is, until about a year ago. Seemingly overnight, I could no longer read up close, even when I held a book at the tip of my nose. An optometrist confirmed what my friends and family predicted: at my age, I now need reading glasses to see clearly.

Thankfully, after trying a pair of reading glasses, everything came into focus, like seeing things in High Definition. The eye doctor helped me to regain something that I valued highly: vision.

Even with good vision, there are times we cannot see the path ahead. For work, I often travel to remote areas of Alaska. On one trip, I was in Kotzebue, preparing to fly to the small village of Kivalina, which is located on a narrow strip of land sandwiched between a lagoon and the Chukchi Sea. When the bush pilot and I left, the sky was clear, and I anticipated a typical scenic ride in the small Cessna 207 airplane. As we traveled, I enjoyed the views and conversation.

When we neared Kivalina, we noticed a fog bank situated directly over and on the small Alaskan village. Being a seasoned bush traveler, I assumed we would circle above and see if we could find a hole in the cloud to descend into and land. Instead, the bush pilot gave me a disconcerting look that seemed to say, “should we give it a whirl?”

At that moment, two things were going through my mind. Inwardly, I questioned the qualifications and experience of this pilot I had barely met while I searched for the extremely tall radio tower that I knew was waiting, unseen, below. I began to worry as both the plane and my stomach dropped!

At this point and against my wishes, we began to descend into the fog. I couldn’t see anything. My excellent vision did me no good. I had enough experience to know we were safe at the moment. I could see where we were on GPS and other instruments. But we were looking for a very narrow airstrip on a very narrow strip of sand between two bodies of water.

Our situation concerned me, and I think the pilot could tell—either by the look on my face or my encouraging (and possibly critical) words. I couldn’t see anything outside the aircraft.

Lucky for me, my trusty pilot recognized we wouldn’t be able to continue our descent, and he aborted the approach into Kivalina. As he pulled back on the controls, the familiar and comforting blue sky and sunshine re-appeared. What a blessing!

In John Chapter 9 of the Bible, Jesus restores the sight of a blind beggar. In this Sabbath-day miracle, Christ explained the importance of doing the Father’s work and the essential union of light and obedience.

“I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with clay.”

Jesus then instructed this man to go and wash in the pool of Siloam, and “he went his way, therefore, and washed, and came seeing” (John 9:4-6, KJV).

Jesus recognized that his time was short, and his work was vast. He seeks to heal all who will come unto him and follow his instructions.

I have felt the love of our Savior and Redeemer as I have personally witnessed miracles in my life. I haven’t been blessed to see or touch Jesus, but I have felt both his light and comforting influence. Jesus is the light of the world. His power can break through the dense fog of doubt. He can restore our sight when we are spiritually blinded by circumstance and sin.

I hope we can all feel the love of our savior and redeemer Jesus Christ in our lives. If we look, we will see his hand in our lives. If we listen, we will hear his voice.

Rick Taylor is a businessman who has lived in Alaska most of his life. He enjoys the outdoors and spending time with his family and is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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