READING: 1 Chronicles 25-27, John 9:1-23
“This came about so that God’s works might be displayed in him.”
I think about my years of ministry, and I confess that I’ve never fully understood why God allows all that He allows. I think of, for example, the beloved mother who died at an early age. The parents who buried their newborn baby. The child born with serious physical handicaps. The Sunday school teacher who lost her sight. The family whose home was destroyed by a tornado. The faithful deacon who lost his leg due to diabetes. The church leader killed in an automobile accident. The committed, loving preacher who suffered horribly with cancer. I could go on and on with the stories of believers who faced difficulties beyond my imagination – and I confess that I often wonder why they all faced what they did.
In Jesus’ day, it was customary to assume that a person’s particular sin was the cause behind his or her sickness or struggle. So, it’s not surprising that the disciples asked this question when they saw a man born blind: “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:2). Jesus quickly, though, directed their attention away from that wrong understanding. It wasn’t the sin of the parents or the son that caused the blindness; instead, God planned to work through the situation to bring glory to Himself. “This came about so that God’s works might be displayed in him,” Jesus said (John 9:3). Through this man’s sickness and healing, others would take note about the Messiah (John 9:3).
I have never suffered what this man suffered, but I find comfort in the truth that God’s goal in allowing sickness and difficulties is to magnify His name. Some differ with a God who chooses to allow suffering for His purposes, but I am not among that number. As God, He has the right to allow whatever He wishes. He also desires that His name be known and that others turn to Him as Savior; if He chooses to do that through suffering, that is His prerogative. My responsibility is to trust Him in those times, believing that He is somehow drawing others to Himself through my pain.
Reaching that level of trust, though, is surely easier to do when you’re not the one in the middle of the battle. Theologizing about the conflict (like the disciples of Jesus were essentially doing in their question about the man’s sin) can, in fact, be exciting as long as that conflict is in someone else’s battleground. It’s when it hits home that that our faith is often most challenged.
- Ask God to give you faith to lean on Him if life becomes, or is, difficult for you.
- Pray for someone you know is struggling, asking God to make Himself most evident in the situation.
PRAYER: “God, I want to trust You regardless of what I face. Use me to be a witness to others.”
TOMORROW’S READING: 1 Chronicles 28-29, John 9:24-41