As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.
John 9:1-7 ESV
We live in a society and a day and time where we believe that whatever happens to us is a direct result of either something we did…or something we didn’t do. If we get a promotion at work it’s because we put in the hard work and commitment needed to deserve this recognition. If we walk into a bed leg and stub our toe, it’s our fault because we either weren’t paying attention or we neglected to turn on a light. Similarly, if something catastrophic happens, like a hurricane with mass flooding, we instinctively look for someone to blame or find a way to pass fault.
In the scripture, we see that Jesus and His disciples were out and stumbled upon a man who was blind. Instinctively the disciples asked if it was the man or his parents who had sinned, causing the man’s blindness. The question wasn’t too far off track, as similar acts happened often in the Bible. (See Exodus 34:7 and the story of Gehazi in 2 Kings 5). Even still, Dean VanDuff stated in one of his writings that “God uses sickness in our lives as a way to 1) rebuke us, 2) slow us down, 3) remind us of our mortality, 4) sanctify us, and 5) to eventually bring us to Him and display His glory.” So it was fair for the disciples to assume that this particular man was blind as the result of sin, however Jesus says that this man was blind simply for God to display His glory. As you continue to read in John chapter 9, the healing of this blind man sparked intentional conversation about who Christ was and His purpose on earth.
One page over in John 8:12 (KJV), Jesus said “I am the light of the world; He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” So looking back at John 9:4, when Jesus says that He must do the work of His father while it is still day time because night is soon coming. The “night” that Jesus is referring to is not PM nor the setting of the sun, no, He was referencing His death. Jesus knew why God the Father sent Him and the work that He must do during His time on earth. In verse 5 of the same chapter, He further says that as long as He is in the world, He is the light in the world. Based on what we’ve read in John 8:12, we know that without Jesus in this world, the world will walk in darkness. When I read that verse I shuddered, thinking of the sheer magnitude of that statement.
Reflect on that for a minute.
Late last week as I was trying to think of how to prepare for the prayer line tonight, I asked God to send me a passage and this is what He sent. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the devastating flooding, and the scores of death, I know many people are asking the same question: why?
Why didn’t the residents clear out of the area before the Hurricane?
Why didn’t the government suggest or even force evacuations?
Why did the president delay in his response to the impending threat of Harvey?
Why did God allow this to happen?
That last question is the question that we often hear when something horrible happens. We ask, not because we genuinely want to know the answer, but because we need to feel like there is someone or something to blame. And with the mass devastation of Harvey, instinctively, we have to blame someone because we can’t blame a storm for doing its job.
While we mourn and celebrate the beautiful lives that were lost, we must know that God did not allow Harvey as a punishment to anyone for any reason. Instead this is a way to bring us closer to Him and display His glory.
I don’t know what you have seen on the news but here is what I witnessed last week:
1. Strangers in Texas opening their homes, businesses, and hearts to survivors seeking shelter.
2. Canada and Mexico offering unyielding help to Texas.
3. Americans from all over the country driving with supplies (boats, jet skis, food, water, etc.) to provide aid.
4. Celebrities donating and/or fundraising large sums of money for relief efforts.
5. EVERY retailer offering consumers a method by which to donate money.
6. Race, gender, political affiliation, social status, age, educational level, religious beliefs- all were ignored in an attempt to save lives and help others.
Simply put, I witnessed LOVE.
Whether it was the love of God or the love of country, love was what drove people to give beyond themselves to save the lives of others.
God is love (1 John 4:8).
Jesus is the light.
The Holy Trinity is comprised of God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Using the rules of the Transitive Property (I studied math in high school and Finance in college), when we practice the act of love, we show the love of the Father, shine the light of the Son, and we receive the Holy Spirit.
Many things will happen to us in our lives; some will be good, some will be bad, and some will fall in the middle somewhere. Regardless of what we face, Jesus has not and will never leave us or forsake us. It is in our time of trouble that we hold on even tighter to Christ. We must continue to seek Him, as He will reveal His purpose for our pain. When life’s high tides are raging and the winds are blowing, instinct says to have fear, but Christ says to have FAITH.
Let us get to the point where we turn to faith- as opposed to fear- instinctively.