John 9:1-11 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. 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.
The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar were saying, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” Some said, “It is he.” Others said, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” So they said to him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed and received my sight.”
I love this passage of Scripture! It is one of my favorites. Why? Well, let me tell you. For one, God allows things in our lives which don’t always make sense to us at the time we are going through them. And they may even be very painful experiences. Two biblical examples come to mind.
The first one I thought of was Job. God allowed Satan to kill off his children and his servants and his livestock and then to inflict him with horrible sores. And what did Job’s friends do? At first they were sympathetic, but then they began accusing Job of sinning against God, and of that being the reason for his suffering. And then there was Joseph whose brothers sold him into slavery. Now Job told his friends that he had not sinned against God, but they would not believe him. And later in life Joseph told his brothers that what Satan meant for evil, God meant for good, for the saving of lives.
So, the point here is that one, the bad things that come into our lives are not to be assumed to have happened due to any sin on our part or because of anyone else’s sins. They could be, but God has his reasons for why he does what he does, and for why he allows what he allows, and for why he puts us in difficult situations. And sometimes it is to humble us, and to mold us into his likeness, and sometimes it is in preparation for what he has planned for us later in our lives in the way of his calling on our lives.
For in Psalms 139 it says that God knit me together in my mother’s womb. He put me in the family I grew up with. So this was God’s will for me. Yet, I was severely abused as a child by my father. And my mother, although she was a good woman, she was emotionally distant and neglectful, and she didn’t always pay attention to what was going on. But he was abusing her, too. And he was a mean and hateful and violent man, and he was scary, and he had a split personality, so we never knew what was coming or when we were going to get hit. It was a very fearful time for me.
But God allowed it, and not only did he allow it, but he put me in that family. He knit me together in my mother’s womb. All the days ordained for me were written in his book before one of them came into being (Psalms 139). But God had a plan and a purpose for my life, didn’t he. He allowed me to go through much suffering in my life, for it didn’t end with my dad. But through all this suffering I learned obedience. And I was humbled. And I learned submission to my Lord. And I gained great passion for ministry to the hurting, the neglected, and to those trapped in sin’s deceitfulness.
So, had I not gone through what I went through, I doubt that I would be here today doing what I am doing with the same heart and passion and compassion that God has given me through the things I suffered… So the man was born blind, not because someone sinned, but because God wanted to display God’s works through him. So, whatever you are going through, please know that God is sovereign, and he has his reasons for why he does what he does, and for why he allows what he allows, in order that all the praise and glory would go to him.
And then there is this part here about how we need to work the works of God while we still have time, for time is running out, and not one of us is promised the next breath, let alone tomorrow. So don’t waste your life on things that don’t matter for eternity. Make your life count for Jesus Christ today, and let him display his works in and through your life as you submit to him as Lord, and as you surrender your lives to him, and as you walk in holiness and righteousness, in obedience to your Lord, in his power.
And another thing I see in this story is that healing isn’t always instantaneous. Sometimes it is a process of healing which takes time, and it requires walks of obedience. But I also see this on a spiritual level, that this speaks to our salvation, which is also a process, which involves us obeying the Lord and doing what he says to do. For Jesus could have just laid hands on the man and healed him at that moment. But he chose to do it a different way, and the man had to obey the Lord and go to the pool and wash, or he would not be healed. And we have to walk in obedience to our Lord so that at the end we have complete spiritual healing and eternal life with him.
And lastly, the man gave testimony that his healing came from Jesus and not from himself or by any other means. And when the Lord heals us spiritually, and he changes our lives, and when he turns us from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, we are also to give him praise, and to give testimony to his saving grace. And I am not talking about a testimony of when you first believed in Jesus, but a current testimony of what he is doing in your life right now in the spiritual healing process he is doing within you. But also we should be sharing the truth of the gospel of our salvation.
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Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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