There once was a man who was born blind, according to John in chapter nine of his Gospel. Why would this happen? More specifically, why would God let this happen? God’s Word applies to our lives…forever. The story of this blind man is very close to my heart and helps me greatly in my acceptance of where God has me in my life right now….. and in years past, and possibly in the years to come.
Recently I spent time with my friend Mackenzie. She encouraged me and reminded me of this story– a story I had tucked far away in my mind because it’s easier to blame myself for my challenges, than to accept that this path…this road…is God’s very best work in me.
People, by nature, are often “fixers.” It’s difficult for people who love us, to stand by and watch us suffer and hurt and struggle. We want to know “why” in order to make sense of the problem and subsequently make things better. We crave peace, and we want to “fix” what appears to be the problem so that we/they can experience relief. It’s unintentional selfishness. We want to believe that we know what’s best for ourselves and for others. Jesus’ works are miraculous however. When healing this blind man, Jesus spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he said, “and wash in the Pool of Siloam.” So the man went and washed, and came home seeing. Crazy amazing!
Prior to his healing, this blind man had been sitting at the gates of his city begging for money. The community around him was toxic but typical. He was one of the embarrassments to the town, and yet God had a special plan for His life. Even Jesus’ disciples had a misperception of the blind man’s problem. They assumed there had to be explanation, a reason, which would explain this man’s affliction. “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:2)
I can be so hasty to say things in my head about the disciples as I read this. Like, “Why would they assume anyone did anything wrong?’ When things that should go right in our lives go flat out wrong, what is the first word from our mouths? “WHY?” You know what I’m referring to. I do it too! We question God and wonder why He would allow difficult and sometimes horrible things to happen to us. Look at this. Jesus uses this story to show us the purpose saying, “Neither the man nor his parents sinned, “ Jesus said, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me…” (John 9:3-4)
What more of an answer could I ask for?
You may ask how this story relates to our stories when maybe we haven’t experienced total healing? My friend…hang in there. God sees us, and He adores you and me. He knows the type of healing which will keep us close to Him and that’s the goal. THAT’S THE GOAL!
I can blame myself and almost drown in guilt and embarrassment because I think I must have done something wrong to be challenged with anorexia and depression for so many years. Why am I still struggling? Why don’t I do better and fight harder so that I can be well? Why haven’t I been “fixed?”
This story of the blind man poses the question to my mind. ..a question which does not come naturally to me. I have to really focus and ask God for grace for myself and peace of mind so that I can accept the thought that I am not sinning in these areas. Anorexia is a mental illness, as is chemical depression. New use of the word, “why” can now enter. Why not face these challenges that are in my life? What if I didn’t sin and as a result have these struggles? What a relief! I can’t stay stuck in the stickiness of why I haven’t been totally healed! It’s too much! But what I can focus on is HOPE!
Jesus said that this man was blind “so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.” My story and your story are not over. Regardless of what point you and me are at in our struggles, God’s work can be displayed in our lives. So I’m in! I’m all in! Sometimes we just can’t live for the end result. Sometimes we have to live for the promise that our lives have purpose. The Jesus I’m learning about and desiring a deeper relationship with isn’t into cruel jokes, although I used to believe that lie. He is into blowing peoples’ hearts wide open with the work of His Father! “Why” is a very tricky word in our limited minds, indeed, but in my mind, this story helps to answer the “why” to my limited knowledge. The answer is…God.