As he walked 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?’ Jesus answered, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him.' (John 9:1-3)
Of course we all know there are sins that we commit that hurt us and have grave consequences, but this passage shows very human disciples trying to find a reason for every handicap: a consequence sent by God to punish us for our sins. Jesus' quick response to the disciples' question "Who sinned, this man or his parents?" is "Neither." Why is it that we have this tendency to always look for a reason for hurt or suffering?
It seems to me that illness, handicaps, natural disasters are all a part of the chaos of life, and certainly not all planned by God to teach us or punish us for something. As usual, Jesus takes our questions and responds on a deeper level. He says that God can use our human frailties to bring about something good. The list is endless. Helen Keller was a walking inspiration for the world to see. God used Paul's "thorn in the side" to keep him humble and merciful toward the sins of others. In my own life, God has used painful times to sensitize me to the pain and hurts of others. This is a good thing. Not that a handicap or a time of suffering is good in and of itself, or that it is sent by God — but that God can use our weaknesses to shape us into healing agents for a hurting and broken world.
Lord help me, for my boat is so small and your sea is so immense. Amen.
Terry Thompson - Retired, still cares