As I do each year during my mission to Can Tho, Vietnam, I took a trip down to the tourist section by the river to buy some souvenirs. I have my order down; ties, change purses, and post cards for the folks who help finance my trip. Hai, the preacher, negotiates at a tiny shop inside a small market area. They know me- I come back each summer and make significant purchases, especially the ties which are silk, only three dollars, and come with a matching box-cuff links-handkerchief! This year, Hai's brother, Hiep, and Thien, a young lady in the church, went with us. As we entered the shopping area, I saw the man in the picture above. Obviously blind, he also was obviously selling lottery tickets. I asked Hiep to ask the gentleman's permission to take his picture which he graciously gave. It's one of my favorites of the four week trip this past July.
In Can Tho, you see lottery tickets sellers everywhere. Coming in all ages, some apparently only five or six, and both genders, they have one thing in common; they all appear to be very poor. I asked Hiep what keeps people from cheating the blind seller when they paid. Hiep said the man can tell what the bill is by the feel! I am by no means a lottery proponent but you have to love the resolve of the gentleman. I don't know why or how long this man has been blind. Maybe he was born that way. Jesus healed a man born blind and an uproar erupted over him who could now see. Jesus told His disciples in John 9:3 that, "this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him." Maybe the lottery guy made some foolish choices to cause his loss of vision- that's what happened with Samson! Or maybe it was a disease, like diabetes, which brought on his condition. I don't have a clue but I do know this: he wasn't sitting around feeling sorry for himself.
When I was a boy, some college friends of my parents visited us in Nebraska. In the intervening years, the man had lost his sight. At supper, Dad, as only our dad would, asked him what it was like to be blind. I don't recall the brother in Christ's word for word response but it was along the lines that it was the best thing to ever to happen to him. Maybe doors opened that would have been closed. Maybe he was able to reach those who seeing people could not. Maybe it made him appreciate his other gifts more! But he praised God for what the world sees as a disability. Without an exam, I knew one thing- his vision of faith was 20-20. I wish I had that kind of sight. And unlike the lottery, it's not left up to chance.
Applicable quote of the day:
"Self-interest makes some people blind, and others sharp-sighted."
Francois de La Rochefoucauld
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