What's Your This?

Romans 8:28a And we know that in all things God works

One of my close relatives was recently diagnosed with a condition that over the long-term will have a debilitating impact on her life. When her diagnosis was received, it was unwelcomed by me and seemed egregiously unfair to anyone who knew her. I longed to be able to "right" things, to take her diagnosis on myself or to rewind the hands of time and sway the outcome. None of these are options which leaves me with only one. To love her, pray for her and believe God with her is a premier privilege in my life right now.

This morning I am reading John 9:1-23. Here I find another of Jesus' amazing miracles. As Jesus and his disciples walked along the road, they encountered a blind man. The belief among Jews at this time in history was that physical illness was the result of some vast sin in one's life and God's just punishment thereof. Regarding this blind man, His disciples inquired who had sinned, the man or his parents, that God would allow this tragedy into his life (Verse 2). Jesus' reply is truth resplendent with grace, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life." (Verse 3)

"This" happened. It wasn't because of any wrong I committed. It is because God greatly desires to work in my life. The "this" could be many things in my life - some painful childhood memories, divorce, Scott's cancer last year or this latest diagnosis. Whatever the "this" is, Jesus tells me it happened so that the work of God might be displayed in my life. I desperately want God to work in my life, so I'm eager to read on and find out how this is possible.
  • Participation Required - Verses 6 and 7 outline the method Jesus used to heal this man. First Jesus used his spit to form some mud that he placed on his eyes (yuck!). Then Jesus gave specific instructions to him to go a certain pool and wash his eyes. Could Jesus have spoken a word and brought healing? Absolutely, he could! Jesus, however, wanted him to participate in the process. Jesus also wants me to join in the healing process in my life. While I don't believe every illness will be miraculously cured, I do believe the emotional wounds in my life will be. There is two distinct qualities of the blind man I need to emulate in my life to stimulate healing. 1) Willingness - He allowed Jesus to use whatever method He deemed necessary. Personally, I'm not a big fan of spit or mud but if I have to get dirty to get clean, it's entirely worth it. 2) Obedience - He followed Jesus instructions. He didn't ask, "why" or "how come". He didn't politely suggest several feasible alternatives. He simply did what was asked. Often the hardest part of healing is simply walking in faith and obedience.
  • Testimony Essential - Immediately his neighbors began wondering how this healing had happened. He could have regaled them with the power of his positive attitude, his exercise and diet routine or referenced the self-help scroll he'd recently acquired but instead he credited the only One worthy - Jesus (Verses 8-11). Getting every source of assistance is important, but the only essential is remembering Who is actually producing my healing. When I tell others about God's work in my life, it extends the healing beyond myself and shares it with others. That is indeed a great gift!
  • Fear Rejected - This passage ends tragically with his parents being called to the temple to explain how their son was healed and them allowing fear to author their response (Verses 18-23). In the midst of my "this", I can allow fear to dictate my path or I can stand firm, believing God to fulfill every one of His promises to me. I either choose fear or faith.

Jesus, I desire you to work in my life today. So, I will choose to participate with you in my healing, tell others of your amazing work in my life and walk in faith not fear.

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