Specific Text: John 9:1-5
I've responded to hundreds of car collisions as a firefighter and EMT, some just little fender benders and others that were quite serious. One thing I've noticed is the overwhelming urge for people to immediately want to know why the collision occurred in the first place, oftentimes even before we've fully stabilized the scene or finished treating the victims. People have an innate curiosity which causes them to immediately ask what went wrong and whose fault is it?
This isn't a new trend, even the disciples were wired this way 2,000 years ago. "Why, Jesus... Whose fault is it that this man has been born blind? Who sinned so badly that the consequence was blindness? Him, his parents?" We struggle with these same questions when terrible things happen. We so badly want to know why.
The disciples were sort of right; blindness, disease, death... all of these things are a result of sin in the world. Sometimes accidents and illnesses are the result of specific sins (either the sins of the victim or somebody else), but most of the time there is no one specific reason the bad thing occurred other than the fact that we live in a fallen, sinful world. But certainly our omniscient (all knowing) God knew the bad thing would happen, and since He's omnipotent (all powerful), He certainly could prevent or mitigate the effects, so we want to know why He didn't.
The Bible is full of examples of upright, godly men asking the same question to God that the disciples do here. Most of the time God patiently listens to their questions, but never fully answers them (He's not obligated to answer). In a sense, He just asks for their trust. This is one of the fullest answers to the problem of suffering that He gives:
This happened that the works of God might be displayed in him. (v3)
In other words, Jesus is telling you here not to worry so much about why bad things happen, but rather to trust in Him that somehow, in someway, the works of God will be displayed.
This is a hard teaching, and it's one you will struggle with your entire life. Again we see the importance here of spending time each day reading God's Word and speaking with Him in prayer, because the more you do these things, the more dialed in you will be in seeing Him at work in all things.
Prayer For The Day - Lord God, it is so hard for me to understand why there is so much suffering in this world. I pray that you come again soon to take away all of the hurt and pain so many suffer just as you took away this man's blindness. Help me to see you at work even when it's hard to understand, and equip me to participate in your work to help alleviate suffering. Amen.