John 9 is probably one of my favorite theological chapters in the Bible. We see this long, drawn out, back and forth interplay where Yeshua’s legitimacy as the Messiah is questioned along with the receiver of the miracle. It seems that human nature always says, “Bad things happen to bad people and good things happen to good people.” We want to believe that if we are good, only good things will happen to us. If we see someone who has experienced something tragic, it must mean they did something bad, so if we are good then we won’t experience the tragedy that has befallen them. We want a way to explain and avoid bad things in life.
Yeshua makes it clear once and for all that sometimes our circumstances are not a result of sin or lack of faith. There is not necessarily a cause and effect correlation to our life events. At times, we will experience tragedy merely so that we might be the canvas on which G-d paints a picture of healing, mercy, grace, perseverance, or endurance. Bad things can and do happen to “good” people.
My father was diagnosed with a brain tumor in his mid-20s. Within a few years, he passed away. He was a strong believer. He was not given that brain tumor as punishment for a sin he committed, but it had a greater purpose. In the process of understanding the path G-d set before him, he became a picture of the ultimate faith we should have. He had complete peace in G-d’s will; continued to share the beautiful gift of salvation with those he loved who had yet to believe; and knew with certainty that G-d would care for the wife and children he left behind. He did not mourn the shortness of his life, but rejoiced that he would soon be in the presence of G-d. Though I do not remember him because I was so young, his deep faith is evident in the words he left behind. That faith is his testimony and legacy.
“Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from G-d, he could do nothing.” (John 9:32-33) G-d used the faith of a simple man to proclaim his son as Messiah and confront the religious authorities. What the enemy had meant for evil, G-d had a plan for his glory.
When you are confronted with difficult circumstances, sickness, or loss, don’t assume it is because G-d is displeased with you or punishing you. Take the opportunity to look for ways you can be a light and testimony to others by the way you handle what has been set before you. Just as Yeshua endured suffering and death and the apostles did as well, be honored that you can “share his suffering” (Philippians 3) to honor and glorify G-d.
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