Physical Handicaps, the Will of God and John 9

Yesterday I pontificated that my legally blind eyes are not God’s will. Here is the response I get when I share such thoughts (I am writing this four minutes after having written yesterday’s post):

But Jeff, but Jeff! John 9 says your blindness was given to you by God so God can be glorified in you!

To which outwardly I nod and smile a “thanks” while inwardly think, “No, not really.”

First off, John 9 does not mention me at all. One blind man being cured is not all blind men. It’s one guy in a special case. John 9 (41 whole verses) are dedicated to this one guy. It’s not about me or any other blind guy than the blind guy in John 9.

Secondly, Jesus’ main point is to stifle the arrogant, self-righteous, non-blind disciples who assumed the blind man was blind because he was a worse sinner, or perhaps his parents were worse sinners than their parents. Jesus dismisses this false idea completely, which should once and for all put an end to the “if you have faith you can be healed” heresy. Your physical exterior has little to do with your internal reality.

Third, yes this man’s blindness was healed and this was indeed a demonstration of the “works of God.” The work of God was not His blindness; the work of God was His healing of blindness. In other words, being blind is not demonstrating any work of God; being healed is. Therefore, I can once again conclude that being blind is not God’s doing; being healed is.

Fourth, if I were ever healed of my bad eyes, I would give God the glory. If I am not healed of my blindness, I will continue to stumble in the dark, stub my foot on things I can’t see and almost get run over by cars I could have sworn had a right turn blinker on, not a left turn blinker on. Sigh.

Fifth, whether I am blind or not, I am to do all I can to serve my Lord and Savior. I do not praise Him for sin or its effects. I praise Him for the deliverance I have in Him and wait for the day of redemption with much anticipation. I praise Him for giving me better things to look at! I praise Him for giving me spiritual eyes that see spiritual things.

3 thoughts on “Physical Handicaps, the Will of God and John 9”

  1. Do you sometimes feel like Job, with all these supposed answers from God, that your well-meaning friends bring? :-)

    The point here, which was also the issue with Job, is what is God’s role in the suffering? Is God the initiator of suffering? Does God put a rope across the stairs, so that when we trip and fall, He can play the hero and rescue us? Clearly that would be using unrighteousness to try and work righteousness.

    This is the fatal philosophy, which often finds itself in religious teaching, that the end justifies the means. This teaching about God is what the religious leaders used to justify their crucifixion of Christ: “better for one to die, so that the whole nation doesn’t perish.” It darkens God’s character with a mean streak that makes it hard for us to fully trust Him, and also makes us either too harsh, or too soft, towards others.

    I think you came to the right conclusion. God did not initiate sin and it’s results. But He uses the opportunity to pull men and women out of the fire, or at least to give them the grace to endure it, by giving them better things to focus on. The “thorns and thistles” were given “for our sake” (Gen. 3).

    It is our faith in an all-wise and loving Father that makes every trial on this earth not only endurable, but actually welcome. It is precisely these hardships that give us opportunities to exercise faith, and show the power of grace to triumph over sin.

    As in Job’s case, Satan is accusing the brethren, saying that they serve God only because He surrounds them with good things. Therefore, for to silence the accuser, God needs witnesses who trust Him and serve Him just because they believe in His goodness, and not because they love the reward. If we could see the effect that this kind of testimony has in establishing God’s righteousness in the battle against Satan’s lies, we would not only “grit our teeth and bear them” but we would actually welcome the hardships.

  2. I can probably relate to being a Job’s friend more than I can to being a Job! Seems to me the whole point of the book of Job is “Seriously, just shut up.” Yet our desire to give advice to others pain is irresistible. Through it all, we are driven to Christ and to sit in some dust and ashes from time to time and just listen.

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