TO CHEW ON: “And His disciples asked Him, saying, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’
Jesus answered, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in Him.’” John 9:23
This little story raises a question. We ask, did God allow this man’s congenital blindness, which he suffered with for many years before Jesus healed him, just so Jesus’ power could be on display at this moment in time?
Jesus’ entry into his life at this moment and saying what He did implies to me that all of the man’s life—even the time he was blind, was part of God’s plan for him.
God didn’t create the world with flaws. These things entered when Adam and Eve chose disobedience and rebellion. However, the disciples believed that the man’s blindness was caused by specific sins he or his parents had committed. Jesus said “no” to that. The writer of my Bible’s study notes explains:
“Assuming that an individual case of suffering was due to specific sin, the disciples inquired into the cause of the man’s blindness. Jesus, however, notes that beyond the tragedy of human defects, which result in a general way from man’s fall and the consequent entry of sin, sickness, affliction, and death into the world, God’s merciful and sovereign grace is available” - Siegfried Schatzmann, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1460.
What does this mean for us today? How do we square the fact that God does heal some, but not everyone who prays for healing gets healed? Is it that some don’t have enough faith? That they’re praying the wrong way? That there’s sin in the life?
For me the answer lies in Jesus explanation of why the man was born blind in the first place: “'… that the works of God should be revealed.'” In this man’s case it was a work of miraculous healing. But we also see the works of God displayed in lives lived under lifelong clouds of sickness, pain, debilitation—any one of the heavy consequences of the fall. To me the life of Joni Earickson Tada is an example of such a work of God on display in a many-year quadriplegic.
Here's Paul talking about a similar situation:
"And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. - 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.
PRAYER: Dear Father, on this side of seeing You, it’s easy to be puzzled by our health (and other) problems. Help me to live by faith that You have a good reason for everything that You allow into my life. May Your presence within me reveal the works of God, whether works of healing or works of trust, faith, and rejoicing in and through pain, suffering, and sickness. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.