As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents,that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.--John 9:1-3
Miracles can happen when we take God at His Word. If I’m alert and watchful, I notice the subtle and not-so-subtle signs of His work all around me. You can read about my “God watching” experiences in Sometimes He Whispers, Sometimes He Roars: Learning to Hear the Voice of God.
The miracle story in John’s Gospel of the man born blind falls in the “not-so-subtle” category. “Who sinned,” the disciples asked Jesus, “this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” I understand their question. When we suffer and answers to prayer are slow in coming, it’s tempting to feel like our pain is a payback for some unknown sin. I’m watching people I love face difficult and stubborn trials. I’ve agonized in prayer, but for whatever reason, the answers just haven’t come…yet.
Jesus assured his followers that it wasn’t the man or his parent’s sin that caused the blindness. Rather, it happened, “so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.” Did you catch that? The suffering wasn’t for character-building. It was so that God’s work would be displayed, a word which comes from a Greek word that means “to shine.” You mean my trial can give God a chance to shine? That’s a whole new twist on my afflictions and those of the ones I love.
We are told that Jesus healed the man—an astounding miracle that resulted in the young man’s salvation and a demonstration of God’s mighty power to the incredulous onlookers.
I am encouraged to look at my trials with a new resolve. Determined to grasp glory for God as I watch His hand at work. I choose to believe…to take Him at His Word. And to wait for my answers with joy. My prayer is that in each difficult situation, His work may be displayed. I want God to shine so that others will believe, too.