John 9:1-3 ESV
“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.’”
Sometimes people will assume your suffering is a result of sin in your life, or that you must have done something wrong to deserve what you are going through. Now suffering may be the result of sin, as people are reaping what they sow, but not all suffering is a result of wrongdoing (see book of Job).
Even if you have suffered much in this life, from multiple sources, over many years, it is not to naturally be assumed that you are the one at fault. You may be, but you may not be. For suffering is naturally a part of the Christian life, and it is naturally a part of just being human.
So, why does God allow suffering in our lives? Why does he allow people to be born with handicaps? Why does he allow us to go through difficult times?
Sometimes it is to humble us. Sometimes it is to get our attention so we will turn our lives over to the Lord. And sometimes it is so God will display his miracles in our hearts and lives in order to draw us to himself, to show us that he is God and that he can work miracles in seemingly impossible situations.
For the Christian, God allows suffering in our lives to produce in us endurance, godly character, steadfastness, and spiritual maturity. Sometimes it is to test the genuiness of our faith, and sometimes it is to teach us to rely on God and not on ourselves. And sometimes it is God’s divine correction and discipline in our lives.
Sometimes it is because of what we have suffered or what we are suffering that God is able to use us in unique ways that would not have happened if we had not gone through what we went through, or what we are going through. An example of this might be Joni Eareckson Tada.
But whatever the reason for our suffering, we must know that God has a plan, and that he is completely sovereign over all that he has made, and that he has a purpose for it all. So, we need to trust him. We need to rest in him. But we must also pray for healing and for divine guidance to know how God wants to use our suffering (past or present) for good.
John 9:4-5 ESV
“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.”
So, what works of God were displayed in the life of the man blind from birth? Oh, I see I am getting ahead of myself here, for the next section tells us about how Jesus healed the man of his blindness. But if we are familiar with the story, we know how it ends.
But Jesus is not speaking just about the work of healing he did in this man’s body. What he did in healing this man was just one of those works. He is speaking of all the works of God that he has for us to do. For, we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
We are to be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. And we are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
We are to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power. And we are to cleanse our lives of what is dishonorable so that we will be vessels of God for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.
And these works are not just acts of kindness, showing mercy to others, and caring about their physical needs. But they are the works of God in the sharing of the gospel of our salvation, in truth, as Jesus taught it, and as Paul and the other apostles taught it.
And they taught that we must die with Christ to sin and live to Christ and to his righteousness. They taught that faith in Jesus Christ results in us being crucified with Christ in death to sin and us being resurrected with Christ to newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. So, we need to be those who spread the truth.
[Eph 2:10; 1 Co. 15:58; 2 Co. 9:8; Phil. 2:12-13; Col. 1:9-14; 2 Thess. 1:11-12; 2 Tim. 2:21; Tit. 2:11-14; Tit. 3:8; Jas. 2:17; 1 Pet 1:17-21; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-32; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; Lu 9:23-26]
John 9:6-7 ESV
“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.”
The thing that has always stood out to me about this is that Jesus didn’t just instantaneously heal the man, though he could have. He put mud on the man’s eyes and then he instructed him to go wash himself in the pool of Siloam. So, not only did the man have to have faith, but he had to act on that faith, and he had to obey what Jesus said, and then he was healed.
In the Scriptures it teaches that there is also something called spiritual blindness, which is where we all are before we genuinely believe in Jesus Christ for our salvation from sin. We are still in the darkness without hope of salvation until we trust Jesus Christ with our lives and do what he says.
For, to be healed of our spiritual blindness, we need to not only believe in our hearts that Jesus is who he says he is and to believe him to save us from our sins, but we must also act upon that faith by submitting to his will for our lives and by dying with him to sin and living to him and to his righteousness in the power of God.
For if we don’t, and we continue living in sin, and we don’t walk in obedience to his commands, then we don’t have eternal life with God, even if we profess to believe in him. We will die in our sins. So, if you want to be healed of your spiritual blindness, you must humble yourself and do what the Lord tells you to do, and then you will come home seeing.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; Tit 2:11-14; Rom 2:6-8; Gal 6:7-8]
Shine Jesus Shine
By Graham Kendrick
Lord the light of Your love is shining
In the midst of the darkness, shining
Jesus, Light of the world, shine upon us
Set us free by the truth You now bring us
Shine on me
Shine on me
Shine, Jesus, shine
Fill this land with the Father’s glory
Blaze, Spirit, blaze, set our hearts on fire
Flow, river, flow
Flood the nations with grace and mercy
Send forth Your Word, Lord and let there be light…
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