As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him… Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, “Go wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing. (John 9:1-7 ESV)
We as human beings often like for there to be reasonable explanations as to why things happen in our lives. We are more willing to accept things when we are able to assess blame or responsibility to someone or something. It is much easier for us to accept that the man in this passage of scripture was blind because he or his parents sinned than to accept the fact that he was blind for no apparent reason. This is why the disciples wanted to know who was responsible for the blind man’s state. The problem was that the disciples couldn’t find anything that the blind man or his family did which caused him to not be able to see. He was just blind...or was he?
Sometimes, bad things happen to good people and there is no logical explanation. Innocent children get abused. Elderly people die alone. People work hard and can’t make ends meet. Unfortunately, these inexplainable occurrences are what turn many against Christianity. People often question how Christians can serve a God that allows (not causes) pain and suffering to run rampant when He is all-powerful and could put a stop to pain and suffering if He wanted to.
The simplest answer to the question comes from scripture:
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. (Isaiah 55:8 ESV)
Even when we can’t reconcile what is happening in our lives with who we know God to be, we can stand firm on this promise:
After you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you. (1 Peter 5:10 ESV)
There are so many promises contained within that one sentence; promises of restoration, support, and strengthening. Many times, the Lord tests our faith and willingness to trust Him when our circumstances suggest that God is not with us. In a way, he is testing our fight or flight response. He wants to know who will fight through the storm and take one strained step towards Him after another, and who will curl up in a fetal position, yield to Satan’s lies, and quit. Look at what happens when we choose the former option.
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him (James 1:12 ESV)
The enemy will constantly attack us by using situations and circumstances to come against our faith and cause us to question God's love, intentions, and promises for our lives. Satan is engaging us in spiritual warfare when he influences us to be overly-concerned with questioning why God allows certain things to happen in our lives that we feel we don’t deserve. The Bible says that we are to fight the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12). Faith is a FIGHT! In order for us to be used for God's holy purposes, we have to choose to fight. This means choosing to trust and not question God’s decisions for our lives. Trust Him. He knows exactly what He is doing.
I was a police officer for seven years, and I was taught about the fight or flight response. In essence, when police officers are faced with dangerous situations, they will either advance towards the problem or be overcome with fear and retreat. Retreating in that line of work is not an option. Officers are not only responsible for their own personal safety, but the safety of the public as well. This means that they must fight in the face of danger. An officer's decision to flee could lead to tragic consequences. In the event that an officer flees in a situation where the public or a fellow officer is depending on them, that officer will quickly find himself without a job because he is unable to be used for his purpose.
We can go about the task of fighting in the context of spiritual matters by using God’s word and prayer as our spiritual “handcuffs” so to speak.
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. (Joshua 1:8 ESV)
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit with all prayer and supplication. (Ephesians 6:17-18 ESV)
When we implant God’s word into our hearts and communicate with Him through constant prayer, then we can arrest and bind any negative thoughts or lies that the enemy may try to use to cause us to question God.
The blind man was not blind for no good reason, and bad things are not happening in your life for no good reason. God got the glory out of the blind man’s circumstance, and he will get the glory out of yours as well. The blind man suffered daily from the loss of his sight until he encountered Jesus Christ. If you will pray, study, and stand firm in your faith, then I guarantee that like the blind man, you will come again seeing after you have suffered.