TESTIMONY: LOSING MY EYESIGHT, RECEIVING GOD'S VISION
Dr. SUSAN KIM-CHOI | AUGUST 15, 2018 | 7 MIN READ
Soon after the birth of my second child in 2010, I noticed a sudden degradation in my vision. Both my first and second pregnancies were full of complications that caused havoc on my body. But for this symptom, there was no recovery. After visits with numerous specialists, I was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a degenerative condition that has no known cures and has now caused me to be legally blind.
Before my diagnosis, I was an independent and ambitious academic. I had already finished my bachelor’s and master’s degree in Applied Mathematics, and I was a couple of years into my doctoral program. My original goal in life was to finish my Ph.D. by the age of 30 and become a professor in Mathematics. My marriage and pregnancies slowed down my timeline a bit, but I was determined to get back on my career path as soon as possible.
So I was tremendously shocked by the diagnosis and the continuing loss of my vision. I wished every day that this was some sort of nightmare -- that I would wake up one day to find clear vision again so that I could get back to my goals. As I realized more and more that this condition would not improve, I began to seek miraculous healing, starting to pray to God to restore my sight. I even asked the pastors and elders of my church for their anointing in accordance to James 5:14.
The answer to my prayers came, but not in my selfish ways, but the greater ways of God. His answer was not “Yes, I will heal your vision,” but rather “I will heal your heart to better use you to show my glory.” At first, I did not understand what he meant. How could he use someone so helpless and dependent? The deterioration of my vision destroyed my former independence and confidence and replaced it with a timidity and despair, making me afraid to even leave the house anymore. But this helplessness also melted away my callousness and self-righteousness that had grown around my heart, leading me back to the innocence of dependence in the faith in my Lord. So, I decided to wait on him to use me.
In the eight years since my initial diagnosis, God transformed the arrogant, self-reliant person to one that is completely dependent. However, in that dependence God allowed me to see his greater glory. He allowed me to finish my doctoral degree in 2015 and I have been an adjunct professor at Compton College ever since.
People ask me how I can go outside when I can’t see. “Aren’t you scared?” they would ask. But I am no longer afraid because I know that God is always there with me. Whenever I needed help he sent me people to my aid. I have so many stories of the most random people going out of their way to help me (including, one time, Tommy Lasorda of the Dodgers) that I know that he is watching over me.
Also, just by going through my daily life, I became an inspiration to people. My students tell me that they can’t justify any excuse to miss my class when they see me walking across the campus with my white stick in front of me. I have also had chances to work with the organization, Junior Blind of America, to share my story and mentor young people struggling with their disabilities.
When bad things happen, especially when we think things are going well, we become angry and frustrated at God. We blame him for causing our failures to happen. But we forget that he was there during all of our successes as well. Whether good or bad things happen in your life, they are all for the glory of God. It is only in our arrogance that we think that he will only be glorified through our accomplishments.
I have my 8-year-old and 9-year-old sons read the Bible to me every night. As we were going through 1 Samuel, they read to me the story of Eli, the high priest. When the young boy Samuel prophesied God’s intent to bring calamity on the high priest’s family because of sin, Eli simply answered him, “He is the Lord; let him do what is good in his eyes” (1 Samuel 3:18b). I will never be glad about losing my vision, but I now know that it is part of his greater plan, and that makes me satisfied in him.
Susan Kim-Choi is an adjunct professor of mathematics at Compton College. She has a B.S. and M.S. in Applied Mathematics from UC Davis and Cal Poly Pomona, respectively. She also earned her Doctorate of Education from Azusa Pacific University. She is married to her husband Paul and has two sons, Isaac and Avery.