It would be valuable to read the ninth chapter of the Gospel of John. The story therein continues through the first twenty-one verses of chapter 10.
The disciples asked what seemed to be a simple question. It took all these verses to address the what the disciples noted as they walked near the temple. It was the Sabbath, a day of worship for the Jews. The record centers around a blind man that Jesus healed.
The disciples asked what seems to us a ridiculous question. They wanted to know if the man’s parents or he sinned that he would be born blind. In other words, it apparently was the Jewish superstition at the time that a person could sin before he was born. That sin could result in a punishment such as blindness after his birth.
Jesus did not address the superstition. Instead, he addressed the man’s need and the faith that he had for healing. This presents to us what may seem a difficult problem. Jesus said that he was born blind to the glory of God and his healing. It is unlikely that anyone would volunteer to be born blind and remain in that beggarly condition as an adult for years and years. His misery awaited healing from Jesus that would bring glory to God.
There are many lessons to learn from this event and what Jesus taught in response to the questions asked of him.
What happened in this man’s healing countered those who then or now believe that it is possible for pre-birth events to happen. When a person is born, his soul enters the human body. He does not bring anything with him for what his soul may have done or what God performed in the pre-birth condition. It was not possible for this man to have sinned before he was born and then be blind after his birth. There was a much higher calling on him from the Almighty. He would suffer humiliation and scorn as he sat in the dust by the gate to the temple begging for any gratuity that a passerby would give.
In a similar way, this also counters the notion that other people can sin, and its punishment relayed onto a baby yet to be born. There was a more modern-day superstition that said if a pregnant woman looked on the face of a person that had a birthmark of port wine stains on his face, her baby would likewise be born with such an affliction. In reality, this was simply capillaries bursting underneath the skin. Of course, these ideas were not true in either case.
When we find ourselves afflicted in some way or the other, it would be usual for us to ask God why. The man in the Scriptures may have done, but it did him no good to question God. He did the best he could as things were. In God’s time this man became a human lighthouse to others that as a result an unknown number of people came into the family of God by his witness. The better way would be to ask God’s help in coping with the situation instead of challenging God for what happened.
No matter how big or burdensome might be the curse upon us, our prayer should be to ask God to help us be a witness for him through that curse. In most cases, we will never know why God allows things to happen to us until we get to heaven. God’s purpose and glory should be pre-eminent in all of our lives. We are not the center of the universe nor is the problem, but God is the one in charge and he knows what he is doing.
Looking back after the healing what a privilege it was for this man to be a key part of God’s plan at the time. Ask yourself, what is greater or most important? The suffering of this man or the way he was used by God. Remember that God does not have to answer to anyone, even the person that is afflicted.
Beautiful words were spoken by this healed man when he was questioned. He said, “once I was blind but now I see.” Think about it for a moment. Once I was in a bad situation. Once I was deep in sin. Once I had many hurts from the world. Once I felt lonely and abandoned. Once I knew no way to turn. But, praise God, that in his time this man was healed for the glory of God! This man’s salvation, forgiveness of his sins, should be the highlight of these verses. Forgiveness is more important. God’s glory is more important. Problems await God’s attention should he decide to use us as such a witness to the world.
If you are afflicted in any way-physical, mental, emotional, financial, or in a relationship with others, give it to the Lord. This is not a promise for healing, but it is a promise for a better life and a better attitude. Our submission to God in bad situations is more important than the situation.