Day 137: May 17, 2013

Today's Reading(s)

John 9:1-41 Read Online


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Today's Reflection

Key Verse(s)

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” Jesus answered. “This came about so that God’s works might be displayed in him.”

—John 9:3

Suffering
by Brian Ball, Member of Brentwood Baptist, Brentwood Campus

When our oldest son was born, he was delayed in hitting several milestones in his physical development. After lots of doctors and tests, he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy—and with a fairly bleak outlook.

I began to pray that God could take what He wanted from me, just heal my son. He’d taken care of me my whole life. And I knew no matter what He took from me He would keep taking care of me.

After months of this prayer, He brought me to today’s passage. “Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” the disciples asked.

To be honest, I wasn’t as concerned with a cause of his CP but a cure. As is natural with your kids, you don’t want them to suffer. But over time, we saw how God used this “disability” to His glory, forming aspects of character—like patience and grace—not only in our son but in those around him.

I can honestly say now that cerebral palsy has been a blessing to us.

As Christians, our theology of suffering is often misguided. We generally have a simple theology of suffering—don’t. Don’t suffer. Do whatever you can, use whatever you have to keep you from or relieve you of suffering.

God has a different perspective, a greater purpose for our circumstances. From Romans 5, we know that perseverance (endurance of suffering) yields character, and character yields hope, a hope that will not fail us.

So when God lets us suffer, we generally have a combination of three purposes: God’s glory, other’s good, and our growth.

You see, this man was born blind so that God could be glorified—Jesus explicitly said so. God doesn’t do miracles to show off but to confirm His authority. This miracle provides witness to those around this man, revealing the incarnate presence of God with them—just look at the conversations of the neighbors, community, and Pharisees. 

This was done so people can know Jesus is the Son of Man. While this act was done for their good, to turn their hearts toward God, not all responded.

Here we also see the man born blind’s growth—he becomes Jesus’ disciple. We have no indication that this was not the first time this man encountered Jesus.

From what the Word says, Jesus saw him as He went along, had mercy on him, and healed him. And through this act, the man’s heart turned to Jesus and provided honest testimony to His authority.

Reflection Questions

  1. So where are you suffering?
  2. How is it to God’s glory, other’s good, and your growth?
  3. Can you frame your circumstances in that perspective?

About the Author

Brian Ball

Since 2004, Brian has been a member of Brentwood Baptist. He’s been involved in many ministries, including leading and teaching Bible studies and is currently serving as a Trustee.