Recently I decided to read the Gospel of John from start to finish, one chapter at a time. This morning before work I read chapter 9, which is the story of the man born blind.
It was crowded. Jesus saw the blind man. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.”
Jesus spat on the ground, made a little mud, put it on the man’s eyes, told him to go wash it off, then disappeared back into the crowd. The man did as he was told, and he could see.
Blindness is a cross. Like every other form of suffering, it is a symptom of our fallen world. It’s nobody’s personal fault.
Very few of us will receive miraculous physical cures for our sufferings. Those kinds of miracles happen, but they are rare. All of us, though, through our suffering have an opportunity to be an instrument for God to show the world some of himself. Like the blindness of this man in the Gospel, God can allow us to suffer so that his works may be made visible through us.
After the healing, the pharisees question the man, badgering him about how he was healed, and whether he believed that Jesus was from God or not. To the man who was healed, it was pretty simple: “One thing I do know is that I was blind, and now I see.”
The man doesn’t really know who Jesus is, but he stands up for the godliness of his healer, and is kicked out of the synagogue. When Jesus hears of this, he finds the man, reveals himself, and the man becomes his disciple. He knows that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God.
Why do we suffer? Perhaps because it is through our trials that God reveals himself to us. Through these experiences we come to see that we are completely dependent upon God. We have no control. We are powerless on our own. The one who opens the eyes of the blind and calms the tempest with his word offers his peace in our lives. All we have to do is place our trust in Him.
4 thoughts on “Why is there suffering? A Lesson from the Man Born Blind”
I think maybe there’s more than one answer as to why we might suffer but that whatever the why of it all, God can reveal Himself and be glorified in the midst of it. I love Romans 8:28 🙂 such an encouragement. Great thoughts about the blind man. He suffered but when he got to know Jesus, he found the best that this life can offer us.
Awesome point Rachel. So glad you enjoyed the post. Your comment reminded me of a wonderful thing I heard somewhere. I’m not sure who said it, may have been a priest: “The beauty of Christianity isn’t that everything happens for a reason. No. Not everything happens for a reason. The beauty of Christianity is that God can make something beautiful out of the chaos.”