Questions – II: Why?

I spoke with a young man a few days ago. He is feeling guilty about some things. His words were “I feel bad for making life hard for her sometimes.” Buried in there is the worry that something he did caused or contributed to the death of the one he loved – his mom in this case. (Forgiveness is another issue revealed in his concerns but I will deal with that on another occasion.) So I have been thinking about the story of Jesus and the blind man in John’s gospel, chapter 9. This man has been blind since birth, his parents confirm this. He asked Jesus to heal him and He did. Now the man sees. Somehow this upset the religious “powers that be,” like healing is a bad thing under certain circumstances!  

Anyway, back to the story, some of Jesus’ followers who saw this healing asked Jesus a sort of philosophical question. It’s a form of the “why?” question that so many of us ask. They asked: who sinned. Who offended God that God should put such a challenge in the lives of this man and his family (for certainly when one is battling a serious illness or disabling condition the whole family is affected by the illness). Jesus’ answer was surprising then and is so now too: No one sinned. It’s not about sin and punishment. This man’s blindness has a purpose and that purpose is ... let’s let Jesus tell it -"Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.” (John 9:3)

The man is a display case for the Lord God Almighty to show others His glory. In this case, the man was healed of blindness and he went on to testify of the healing and healer in front of town’s people and religious leaders. He testified of the facts even though he didn’t really understand the details of how or why. He just told of his experience with Jesus. That is how he displayed God’s glory.

I extrapolate from that that we all are display cases for Him too. Whatever condition you are in – grieving, disabled is some way, old or young, tall or short – you are a display case. You and I can display His love, peace and mercy. And this is true whether or not we are healed of our condition. That is why we were made just the way we are. It happened for God’s glory. 

How can I display His glory? Each of us has specific and unique opportunities to do so. But there are some generalities. We can be patient in the grief recovery period, expecting that God who identifies Himself as Comforter, will comfort us as time passes. We can continue throwing ourselves into His everlasting arms. We can tell the truth, such as: It still hurts a lot, but I know the Lord is present with me. We can share any comfort we have received with another hurting person.    

The loss in my young friend’s life happened and God will get glory in it. The loss in your life, too, can bring Him glory. It is part of the stuff from which the Lord God Almighty, who loves you enough to send His son, intends to build His eternal kingdom here among men. Glory to God.