As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth.
“Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?”
“It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.” (John 9:1-3)
Relate: How old was this blind man? According to earlier tradition and the Mishnah, a boy became a man at the age of twelve. Today that has been understood to mean the completion of his twelfth year, his thirteenth birthday which is now celebrated in Jewish culture with his bar mitzvah. The blind man could have been as young as his early teens, but I have a feeling he was older. I think Luke would have called him a young man if he was that young. However, I don’t think he was much beyond his teen years because when the Pharisees didn’t like his testimony they called in his parents to get their views on his healing. To some degree or another he was still a dependent of theirs. Also, the formerly blind man had no issue with being confrontational with the authority figures. No matter what era or culture we are talking about, this sounds like someone who is in their late teens or early twenties to me.
Either way, this man endured the agony of blindness for years. The only career option for him in this time period was begging. I have been in some tight spots financially at different times in my life. I have lived paycheck to paycheck while eating ramen noodles because it was the only thing I could afford. I have had to move halfway across the country on the hope of a better paying job because trying to live paycheck to paycheck was not even enough to cover my bills. But I have never had to beg. I wear glasses and without them my vision is quite blurry, but that is a far shot from being blind. Even if I was a blind, there are so many social programs available for me to live a life with relative comfort and decency. There is simply no way for me to understand what this blind man suffered through for at least thirteen to fifteen and possibly many many more years. We can’t begin to know what went on in his mind and heart and life for years on end, all so that eventually… one day… the power of God would be revealed in him.
React: It doesn’t seem all that fair to me. It just doesn’t seem right. I’m a grown man. I am an adult. (Although some might argue against that). If I were to say to God, “I am willing to be blind for fifteen to twenty years so that You might have the glory in my life” that would be one thing. This man was born that way. He didn’t have a choice. His mother didn’t chose to give birth to a blind baby. No mother would want that for her child. That is what she got. That is what he endured.
I wonder his response if you were to ask the formerly blind man a few years later what he thought of his healing. If you were to give him the option of being healed when he was or living with his sight straight from birth if he would have wanted the change. Some might. I honestly couldn’t say if I would or not. But I have a feeling that he wouldn’t have changed the way things happened for the world. We see things with such limited vision. We understand things with such limited knowledge. God is always working the best for us but oh so often we cry out against what we perceive as injustice. If we only knew.
You are a just God. You are a good God. It is not always easy to see. Sometimes, when I look at a man blind for decades waiting for his healing it is hard to see. When I look at the injustices and the tragedies of this world that You get blamed for it is hard to understand. Help me to see the end from the beginning. Help me to know down the my core just how good You are. Help me to trust You… even in the waiting.