Blind Since Birth

As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”Jesus answered, “Neither did this man sin, nor his parents; but, that the works of God might be revealed in him.

                                             John 9:1-3

 

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

                                             Romans 8:28

 

As I shared before, I’ve been reading John. I’ve read John countless times before, but I’m trying to read it now with the Holy Spirit’s help (that, and David Guzik’s study guide). I started to read the ninth chapter, where Jesus passes a man, blind since birth. The prevailing thought at the time was that if a child was born with a birth defect or condition, that it was due to his parents’ sin or his own sin, apparently committed before birth. The disciples, curious to know Jesus’s take on this, ask Jesus which person or set of persons sinned.

 

I was stopped in my tracks when I read verse 3: “Jesus answered, “Neither did this man sin, nor his parents; but that the works of God might be revealed in him.” Does this not help explain the purpose of suffering in this world? This man with this specific condition was around Jesus for the sheer purpose in allowing Jesus to glorify God in His divine healing of his blindness.

Notice that I said purpose, and not reason, for suffering. In preparing for each devotional, I skim references and others’ thoughts on the devotional’s scripture or topic. I found a handful of pastors and authors who attribute the man’s blindness to God, and make no apologies about the omniscience and sovereignty of a perfect God to allow birth defects and disabilities to occur. I also found just as many who explained that we cannot attribute such a thing to God; that the translation from its original Hebrew has a missing punctuation mark, and that the verses, combined with verse 4, should really be read as “Jesus answered, Neither this man not his parents sinned. But that the works of God should be revealed in him, I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.”

 

I don’t know how to answer these differences of opinion. I love how the writer of one blog addressed it: “I know Christ-loving people will land in different places about the doctrine of God permitting, allowing, or planning difficult things. Certainly we can all agree that because of human sin, this world isn’t the way God originally intended.”

 

I think I am leaning to what struck me so when I read the verse: the thought that God had a hand in allowing this man to be blind so that he could be the recipient of God’s work in his life, through Jesus’s healing of his blindness. It is a more divine application of Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose”, a verse I’ve always drawn comfort from when bad things have happened to good people. Applying the divine concept from John to the human concept from Romans, the concept becomes “All things work together for good to those who love God, and those good things reveal God’s work and glory.” (I almost ended it with “Laura 3:14” but didn’t want to be sacrilegious or anything <grin>).

 

Some of these concepts have me swimming in the deep end, y’all. And I don’t have all of the answers. But I do enjoy praying about them, talking about them in our prayer group and with others, and letting them roll around in my head, hoping that unconscious thought is formed by the Holy Spirit into the beginnings of understanding. But even if I don’t ever get to any semblance of understanding, that’s okay. It is good enough to know that He has us, He is sovereign, and He is trustworthy.

 

Prayer Requests

  • For us to be okay not knowing all of the answers
  • For us to grow in our spiritual walk and wisdom, individually and corporately
  • Praise for all the good that He has done for us
  • For our pastor search committee
  • For us to share the gospel with this broken world

 

I found a quote of Charles Spurgeon in a blog written by Stephanie Anderson, whose disabled son Isaiah died before his birth, and I want to share the excerpt with you: “Charles Spurgeon put it this way: ‘It would be a very sharp and trying experience to me to think that I have an affliction which God never sent me, that the bitter cup was never filled by His hand, that my trials were never measured out by him, nor sent to me by His arrangement of their weight and quantity.’ I love that. There is comfort in trusting God’s control, His plan, His sovereign purposes—even when they seem impossible to grasp from our perspective. It doesn’t necessarily take away the pain from hard things, but I’m glad to know my life isn’t at the whim of random chance and evil intents.”

 

May we seek to see God’s works in all things.

 

 

Quotes

“Not all storms come to disrupt your life; some come to clear your path.”

 

“You have been assigned this mountain to show others it can be moved.”