God Uses Trials To Make Himself Known
"And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him." (John 9:1-3)
Has anyone in your family ever gotten blind as he or she grew older? It is just natural that some older people will lose their eyesight over time. Are you afraid that might happen to you? Well, being blind is not easy, but it is what God has in store for some of us. Some people are even born blind – like the man whom Jesus healed in John 9.
This man had never seen anything! Since the day he was born, he was blind. Now, think about the doctors and nurses at a normal hospital in your town today. If a baby is born with a limitation – a handicap or a birth defect or even an eating problem – do the doctors and nurses decide that must be a morally "bad" baby? Do they assume that his parents must have messed something up really bad? Do they think a newborn blind baby is the one to blame for his own blindness? Would they write a mean note on his birth certificate and label that baby "no good"? Of course not!
What would they do? They would try to help the baby and treat the baby kindly. The last thing that they would think of would be to say it was the baby's own fault that he had been born with something wrong. Yet that was the mentality of the people in Jesus' time. They really wondered if this man had been born blind because of some sin he or his parents might have committed (or might commit in the future).
It is true that sometimes God uses physical problems to chastise (discipline, punish) His children so that they will repent of their sins and walk closer to Him. But it is not for humans to judge whether that is what is going on when one of our friends gets sick, or when we hear about someone who has physical problems.
In the case of this blind man, Jesus answered His disciples' question by saying that no, this man had not sinned, nor had his parents. Maybe that is the case for some people, but not for him. Jesus said that the real reason this man had been born blind was so that God would be able to glorify Himself through his blindness. When Jesus healed this man, it showed something of Who Jesus is and what He is capable of doing (able to do).
It may even be possible that God could have many reasons for putting us through difficult trials. For example, maybe you have an illness that has held you back so far behind in schoolwork that you are going to have to start the same stuff all over again next year. It could be difficult to think of having to re-do everything you have already started during this school year. Emotionally, that would be hard news to take, especially if you are still feeling physically ill.
It might be true: God might be trying to send you a "wake-up call" about some sin that has been becoming a bad habit for you. Maybe He is trying to slow you down enough to think about your life and how your relationship is with Him. OR it could be that God wants to teach you how to encourage other people in similar situations. OR perhaps He wants you to make some wonderful new friends in a different grade at school next year. OR He may just want to use your life as a walking testimony (truthful personal story) of Who He is and what He is able to do for His people.
Maybe there are other possible reasons why you are facing a really difficult trial like that, or maybe you have been given your problem(s) for ALL of the above reasons! God may be working in your life through a trial just so that He can show His power and His love in a public way. He wants people to know about how great He is. He wants people to know how good He is. Only God knows perfectly what He is perfectly working in each of our lives. He is perfectly fair, but He is not perfectly predictable. We cannot guess what He is thinking or why He is doing something. But we can always trust His wisdom and His actions.
Sometimes God tests us to show His own greatness and goodness.
» Do I find myself trying to "guess" why God might be doing something in someone's life?
» How can I remind myself that God wants to show His greatness and goodness in my life?
» How can I encourage others with the good news of Who God is and what He is able to do?
Truth In Real Life
“Amazing grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!”
John Newton was born in London, the son of a hardworking shipmaster. Because of his father’s influence in his life, John Newton knew that he wanted to work on a ship one day.
John’s mother was a wonderful Christian lady who taught him much about God and the Bible. Unfortunately, John would not listen. This choice would cost him greatly as he grew older.
The life of a man who lives on a ship is often very difficult – and life for the young John Newton was no exception. In fact, things became so difficult, that he actually ran away. He was captured and sold to a slave ship were he was treated very harshly by his commander.
Once, during a terrible storm, John Newton knew that he was going to die. The waves crashed against the ship and everything was hopeless. He went to his cabin and wrote in his journal, “Lord, have mercy upon us.” Miraculously, he was spared. On May 10, 1748, God took hold of his heart and saved him. Ever after that, John would always speak of May 10, 1748, as the day that changed his life. He celebrated May 10th every year. He gave up drinking alcohol, gambling, and cussing. He spent his time studying the Bible and learning everything he could about his God.
A friend of John Newton’s father eventually rescued John and gave him the opportunity to own his own slave ship. He kept the ship for only a short time before he came to realize that the slavery trade was wrong. He chose to believe instead that every person has been made by God, every person is equal before God, and every person ought to be treated as a creation of God.
John Newton is most famous for writing the hymn “Amazing Grace.” He considered it the song that best described his own experience of God’s grace. What song most closely describes your Christian testimony?
John 9:25 – He answered and said, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.”