Reading: John 9: 1-23
Verse 11: So I went and washed, and then I could see.
Today’s story makes us think. It is a story that wrestles with the ‘why’ questions. Why does the world work the way it does? Why does God? God created us with intelligence and curiosity. We want to know how and why things work. We want to understand things. Life and death and what happens in between have long been mysteries that mankind has sought to explain, understand, … Yes, we certainly know much more than we did even twenty years ago. Yet there is still much we cannot explain or understand or begin to answer the ‘why’ questions that we have.
The cycle often repeated in the Old Testament is: following God, becoming disobedient, receiving punishment, returning to God. So when the people considered why someone was born blind or deaf or why someone had leprosy, the natural conclusion was that it must have been punishment for something. It was a short leap from stories such as Miriam’s disease for disobedience to applying this logic to all cases of affliction. What caused this affliction? Sin! So when the man was born blind, all assumed someone in the family had sinned and this man’s blindness was the eventual consequence.
Today we know that this is not the case. But we are still often left with the ‘why’ questions. Why did he die so young? Why did my spouse leave me? Why did my position have to be the job that was eliminated? All of these types of questions can eventually lead to the bigger one: why did God…? It is a difficult question. It is a question that may not be answered for years. It is a question that is sometimes never answered.
God created our world and set it in motion. God created the weather systems, for example. The system was designed and set into motion. We experience hot and cold, snow and rain, sun and clouds. No one would argue that God individually and personally forms each of the zillions of rain drops that fall each day. Our world operated much the same way. Our bodies grow and they decay. We get colds and the flu. We lose our site or our hearing. We get cancer and Alzheimer’s. People make decisions that affect others – sometimes for the good, sometimes for the bad. The lightning strikes and causes a forest fire. Much we cannot explain.
But in and through it all, God seeks to be present. In and through it all we can trust God, we can cling to Him, we can walk with Him. We know that God will give us just what we need for the day or situation at hand.
The blind man needed to see. He believed what Jesus said and he received what he needed. Through him, the glory of God was displayed. No, he didn’t really know ‘why’ Jesus touched him and he couldn’t explain ‘why’ he could now see, but He did and he could. When we trust, when we have faith, when we are faithful, God is true. Then God will be displayed in our lives as well. May it be so.