The assumption made by the disciples and so many of us is that when we see someone suffering, we believe that person has done something to deserve the suffering. This is not always true. Suffering is not always penal.
Instead of discussing theodicy, or the justice of God, though, I suggest that the blind man’s faith was the resource for his survival – the resource that he used to gain his sight and bring light into his life.
You might argue that the blind man was surviving. He was surviving by begging. However, I contend that God wants us to have life and life more abundantly. This blind man did not just want to survive; he wanted to experience all of the promises of God.
He didn’t care what others thought about him or his predicament. He didn’t argue with Jesus or linger on the thought that he might be considered a spectacle as he fumbled his way through town with dirt and saliva on his face. He didn’t care that he had to find the pool of Siloam where he needed to clean himself in front of strangers.
During Jesus’ ministry, Jesus helped; he healed; and he delivered people. He spread the light of God wherever he went. But, unlike the blind man, Jesus chose to suffer. Jesus was unjustly persecuted by the Roman government, he was violently murdered, and laid to rest in a borrowed tomb. But on the third day, we know what happened!
Jesus’ work on the cross and his resurrection made him the Light of the World. When this blind man received his sight, that light was passed on. When we come to know Jesus as our Savior, that light is passed on. When we help those who are in need, that light is passed on. When we share the Gospel, that light is passed on. When we care for creation, the environment, that light is passed on. And, hopefully, if we are asked, ‘Who has wrought a miracle in your life?’ or ‘From where did your “light” come?’ like the blind person in the scripture, we can proudly proclaim, “…the man called Jesus…”
Sometimes our deliverance isn’t instant. Sometimes it takes determination, physical exertion, and patience to follow through with what God has told us to do. Sometimes we will have to stand our ground when others seek to destroy or deny our miracle. Sometimes we may not understand how God has wrought our miracle, but we can recognize and receive the blessing.
This blind man did exactly what Jesus told him to do. His faith was the resource for his survival.
Prayer: Miracle working and delivering God, increase my faith that it might be a resource for my survival and abundant life. Amen.
Beverly J. Goines