Friday, October 11, 2013

John Community Group Chapter 9: The Work of God

Jesus and his disciples pass by a man who has been blind from the moment he took his first breath. I imagine how his mother felt as her heart surely sank the instant she finally realized it. Her baby could not look back into her eyes, to see who this was who held and loved him so. And he never would. Because there's no medicine for blindness.

The disciples want to know who sinned to deserve such a cruel fate—him or his parents. Surely someone had done something awful to squeeze such hatred from the heart of God. But Jesus doesn't leave them wondering this for long but instead, he immediately shatters their ignorance. No one sinned. In fact, there was a specific reason for his blindness.

Can't you just see the disciples' furrowed brows and hear their retorts? They must have heard wrong. This is not what they had been taught before. But Jesus went farther and even gave them the reason for this man's blindness. “...that the works of God might be displayed in him.

Does this make anyone else take in a sharp breath? I'm a regular person who sometimes makes the error of thinking I deserve things that I, in truth, do not. I can be found sometimes throwing a mild temper tantrum because of something placed on me that I didn't ask for---or because of something not placed on me that I did ask for. So to think that someone can be blind so that the work of God might be displayed in them causes me to stagger a bit. You?

On one hand, it helps me to know that our home was not blown away because of something we did, though we were actually told this by some people who obviously don't understand God's word. They said it was because we didn't pray enough. And once I got past the anger toward this perverted view of God, I feel terribly sorry for them, to think that they are imprisoned themselves by this mindset. How must it feel to begin each day worrying you'll do something so awful that you may elicit God's wrath toward you in the form of unthinkable tragedies? No one was meant to carry such a weight. So, on a very small scale, I can understand how this man felt when others had made comments such as this to him. I am privileged to have Jesus' words at my fingertips to dispel any doubts I may be feeling, but this blind man did not. He probably believed in his heart that he truly had sinned to deserve this misfortune.

Back to Jesus' shocking answer to his disciples: When something awful befalls us, it certainly is comforting to know that God does not work in the manner the disciples perceived—with a lightning rod and a good or bad list. But one thing, if I can be completely honest, does still stun me, even confuses me a little. And this is where I have to let the fact that I am finite while He is infinite wash over me and comfort me when I hear of a mom and dad laying their child in the ground or a woman who unknowingly kissed her husband good bye for the last time. And when a tornado came down our street and took everything we owned with it. Because sometimes my son's tears when he discovers one more prized possession he lost or my daughter's hammering heart and fear stricken eyes because the wind started blowing in the back yard don't feel worth it—worth the work of God to happen in someone else's life...or our own. Truly, I do know that it ultimately is worth it—but in the moment, it does not feel worth it. It feels empty, raw, still unbelievable.

I know that it is worth it when I finally sit in the calm and let Him speak to my heart. When I can shut the world up and ask Him why. And I know one day we'll understand it better. I know everyone has their “that day” and an ocean of equal pain inside because of that one thing (and sometimes several things) that unfairly graced itself into the timeline of their lives.

This is a hard one for me...mostly impossible for my narrow mind to understand. I don't “get” every aspect of God, and the older I get, the more I'm at peace with this. I don't understand Him because I am not Him. And oddly, it's somehow comforting that we can't fully understand everything He has done, everything He does now...because if we did, He'd be far too small and undeserving of our complete worship.


Today I find comfort in Jesus' words, though I felt the need to admit that I don't always. Some days I feel honored to have a place in the work of God, to possibly be a reason that someone out there has chosen to still trust Him. That definitely is incredible to think about. But other moments, the truth is heavy and suffocating. The wounds are still raw, and they reopen fairly easily. And all I can do is let Him in to the dark corners of my heart and let Him bring light to my doubts, to remind me of where He was and still is faithful to heal.

Peace of Christ to you,