“Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’
Jesus answered, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.'” – John 9:1-3 (NKJV)
I know I’ve referenced this passage more than once on this blog. I can’t help it. This is one of my favorite moments with Jesus. He speaks so many volumes about illness and suffering in one sentence.
Yes, there are things that we do to ourselves that cause us to get sick. That’s why Paul’s words are important: “‘All things are lawful for me,’ but not all things are helpful. ‘All things are lawful for me,’ but I will not be enslaved by anything” (1 Corinthians 6:12). We shouldn’t over- or under-eat. We shouldn’t drink excessively. We shouldn’t smoke. We shouldn’t do drugs. We shouldn’t be couch-potatoes. We shouldn’t be controlled by anything other than the Spirit.
Here’s the deal, though: A whole lot of illnesses, physical and mental, just happen. Same thing with deformities. Neither my parents nor I did anything to cause me to be born with partial blindness. It just happened. Part of living in a broken world. I didn’t do anything to cause the problems in my liver. They just happened.
Those who suffer have two options: get bitter or get better. It’s easy to get bitter. It’s easy to spit in God’s face and refuse to see Him at work. But how much greater is it to get better? No, we’re not talking literally, because that doesn’t always happen. Yet illness and suffering can shape us into better people. We can learn to see God. We can allow Him to reveal Himself in, around and through us.
Grace and peace along the way.
For all entries in the Jesus: 31 Days with the Savior series, go here.