“While Jesus was walking, He saw a man who had been blind since the time he was born. Jesus’ followers ask Him, ‘Teacher, why was this man born blind? Whose sin made it happen? Was it his own sin or that of his parents?’ Jesus answered, ‘It was not any sin of this man or his parents that caused him to be blind. He was born blind so that he could be used to show what great things God can do.'” John 9: 1-3
Why do bad things happen to good people? It’s just not fair. If we’re honest, most of us have wrestled with the question of, ‘if God is good, then why _________ (fill in the blank)?’
The disciples wondered the same thing. They knew that so much of the suffering and evil seen in this world is related to mankind’s decision to walk away from God – also known as original sin. From that moment on, sin entered the world and we’ve been experiencing the consequences ever since: war, racism, hatred, jealousy, violence, injustice, etc. So when the disciples came upon a beggar who was blind from birth, they assumed that someone’s sin must be to blame.
Like many of us today, the disciples were asking the wrong question. They were so focused on answering the question of WHY, that they missed what Jesus saw – an opportunity. Rather than identifying who or what was to blame, Jesus saw an opportunity for God to move miraculously in the life of this man. It was an opportunity for God to reveal Himself by bringing good from a tough situation. It was an opportunity for God to be glorified.
If you continue to read the Apostle John’s account of this exchange in chapter 9, you’ll see that this was one of Jesus’ greatest miracles. Jesus not only healed this man physically, but also spiritually. Talk about a life transformed! Where the disciples saw a theological case study, Jesus saw a man hurting and an opportunity for God to be glorified.
We, too, have the tendency to focus on the wrong question in times of suffering. The next time you’re tempted to ask WHY, change the question. Look for the opportunity by asking HOW? How can we minister, encourage, and care, in order to bring good out of a difficult situation – all the while displaying the transformative love of Christ?