“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 would be born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him. “We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work. “While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.” When He had said this, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his eyes, and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went away and washed, and came back seeing.” (John 9:1-7)
We have all experienced some type of pain during our lives. It’s really a part of the human experience and it manifests in many different ways and throughout the entirety of our lives. Often our broken-ness and pain build…blocks that are stacked one upon the other. There really is no true way to immune ourselves from it.
When I was studying the above Scripture, I noticed several things that took place in the account of the Blind Man mentioned in John 9. There is much we can glean from this man and how it relates to each of us.
What we know from John’s account of the man is that he had been blind since birth. His pain was lifelong…he never knew anything different from it. Not only could he not see, but I can imagine his lack of sight caused many other afflictions for him. He probably stumbled and/or fell many times throughout his life and some of those falls would have caused wounds…bruises…pain.
However, with the physical assaults throughout his life, I am certain he most likely suffered verbal assaults and jeers. He may have faced social ostracization and accusation — thus, the shame that is born from being set aside, ridiculed, and laughed at by others. Even the disciples asked Jesus, “Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” Perhaps it was the “whispered” accusation among many that it must have been his own fault or that of his parents.
I love Jesus’ answer to his disciples, when they asked who’s fault it was that this man was blind. He responds by saying, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” vs. 3
Jesus knew this man before they happened upon him. Unbeknownst to the disciples, and as He always does, Jesus had gone before them to meet them at their question. The answer wasn’t a simple “neither sinned,” it was to demonstrate the works of God through this man.
Our pain is not for naught! It wasn’t for this blind man and it isn’t for us either. God is at work through the pain, and for His glory. Jesus did not coincidentally “pass by” the blind man…He never does anything out of coincidence…there was a purpose…the blind man was sought by Christ, as are we.
“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10)
Oh, yes…the healing! I think Jesus could have just spoke and this man would have been healed…there is no doubt about it! However, and instead, Jesus spat upon the ground and made clay from the earth…the same clay He used in the Beginning to fashion Adam in His own likeness…then He applied that clay to the man’s eyes, and then sent Him to the Pool of Siloam to wash. When he had washed, he began to see!
“Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7)
The Knowing and The Telling
This man could not only see things he had never seen before, but he now knew things he had never known before. His seeing begat faith! More than anyone breathing at that very moment, this man had a life-changing encounter with the Savior! Jesus pulled him up out of the pit of blindness and despair and set him on a sure foundation…a Foundation that is the Cornerstone!
The new man went and testified of the Lord’s healing of him…He proclaimed that Jesus IS!
But, what about you? What about your suffering that has not ended though you know this same Jesus? Why has He not healed you the way He healed this blind man? I do not know the answer to your question. Your question, my question, has been asked the ages through. Why does God allow suffering? The wisest theologians cannot answer it and I will not attempt it either.
What I do know is this, and it is my experience, that He works through our suffering. Jesus answered our question best, and with the knowledge only God could have,
“…but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” (John 9:3)
We are here to be used of by God and for His glory only. In the midst of our suffering, we must seek to only serve Him and to glorify Him. The only problem with pain and suffering is how we allow God to use us. Pain can make me bitter, if I choose, or it can make me useful…which is often the harder choice. However, regardless of the difficulty in choosing to be useful, it is always for our best and for His glory.
“In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:26-28) (Emphasis mine.)
Our greatest problem, our deepest pain, our relentless sickness can all be used for His glory. While we might not be healed as the blind man was during our sojourn in these mortal bodies, we know that there is an ultimate healing in eternity with Him.
For believers, death is the ultimate healing because it takes the believer out of this sin-ridden world and deposits him in the next where there is no sin. “The last enemy that will be abolished is death.”
(1 Corinthians 15:26) Jesus saved us from the second death (the first one being physical), as Paul teaches,
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)
Therefore, let us live for Him regardless of our pain, and when we die our physical death, let us be raised to newness of Life, knowing that our bodies will never again die or decay!
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:3-4)
Soli Deo Gloria