Twelve-year-old Louie Corbett will soon be blind. Suffering from an accelerated case of retinitis pigmentosa, Louie has lost 50 percent of his vision within the last year. And he isn’t the only member of the Corbett household to suffer from debilitating vision loss; two of his older brothers have pigmentosa as well, although in less accelerated forms.
The Corbett family, from Auckland, New Zealand, has decided that the most important thing they can do for their youngest member is to take him on a visual tour of his most-loved sights: the Empire State Building, Niagara Falls, the Grand Canyon and the Google headquarters in California, to name a few. Young Louie will also get to watch his favorite basketball team, as the owner of the Boston Celtics has ensured he will have the best seats in the house at TD Bank Garden, ironically on the same night that a chorus from the Perkins School for the Blind will sing the national anthem.
Why has it been ordained that Louie and his brothers will lose their sight? Why would God grant a child 12 years of vision, only to take it away when his life has just begun? We will never know the answer to these questions. We can’t know. But we should realize that we’ve been given much by our Heavenly Father — too much to be taken for granted.
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning,” said the apostle in James 1:17.
It could be that Louie is more thankful for the sight he has now than anyone else on earth. He may even receive more enjoyment from his 12 years of vision than most of us will in our entire lives. But as Christians, it is our responsibility to actively thank God for His blessings, not to mindlessly live day-by-day without a second thought to our Creator’s bestowments.
If Louie were to speak to our student body, he might draw our attention to any number of things. Perhaps he would mention that we still have our sight. He could point out that we can smell, hear, taste, enjoy friendship and move without pain. But he would certainly emphasize the brevity of these things, and he would encourage us to enjoy them, for we do not know what tomorrow might bring.
“The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord,” said Job, as he lay grief-stricken and covered in sores after the loss of his family and estate. We can know that God’s will is best for our lives, no matter what the circumstances are. But we must also realize that God has given us incredible things that we may not have tomorrow, and we would be foolish not to thank Him for them while we can.
It would serve us well to breathe a prayer of thanks as we put on our glasses in the morning, to meditate on God’s blessing as we exercise, or to show our gratitude for the gospel by sharing it with others who haven’t heard of Jesus Christ. We can start today; we may not all lose our sight like Louie, but we can all be thankful for what God has given to us.