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Friday, June 3, 2011

Leaving The "Why" Behind

John 9:1-3 tells a story of a blind man who is healed by Jesus. In this day it was often thought if someone was born with an ailment or sickness it was due to a sin either by the person who bore it, or by sins of the generation before. It is in this passage Jesus rebukes his disciples telling them that it was neither.

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.

When we are suffering it is so easy to ask God why. Why me, why now, why Pneumonia, why Matt? As you struggle in those first weeks, months, or years of your grief this very question can easily drive a person to insanity. You come up with speculations, ideas, or simply just more questions that not only take away from your healing, but get you no where in the process. This week God opened up this story to me so that I might be able to see that why is not the question I should be asking.

Eugene Peterson (The Message Bible) interpreted Jesus' word here in this chapter of John this way
, "You're asking the wrong question. You're looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do."

Who hasn't asked God why? It is so easy to do, and yet, it's important to remember this may be nothing more than a revolving door. A revolving door that, although tempting to spin around in, could cause us to lose sight of what He would ask of us. We will not know why we suffer here. We will not know all the plans He has laid out, but what we can do is look forward. We can ask Him to be glorified; even in the moments we can't imagine reflecting in ourselves anything that appears close to light of Christ. Even in our suffering He will be glorified. Better yet, through our suffering He shines brightest through those willing to heed His call. If I was blinded to one thing prior to Matt's death it is that glorifying God is not a call to take lightly. If we listen to His word He reminds us not to doubt. He reminds us that the 'why' isn't the question to ask; instead ask God, 'What would you have for me now?'. It's far too easy in suffering and grief to become bitter. Think of this though, the people that we admire, look up to, are the people that instead of bitterness choose to become better in the face of life's hardships.

And so what does Christ do when presented with a question of why? He heals in order to glorify God. Specifically Jesus spits in the dirt below His feet, makes a paste, and rubs it in the blinds man's eyes. He tells him to go wash it off in the Pool of Siloam, and the blind man can see! Now there is a way to drive home the point of a lesson if I've ever heard one. Jesus' spit and dust to the glory of God.

Where there was suffering, now there is healing. Where there was hardship, now there is the glory of God. That is what I want. The pain remains, the grief continues, but the questions I will ask God will change. What would He have for me now?


John said...


Your strength, faith and hope in the midst of a loss which I can't even fathom is truly amazing. It's clear that you are committed to all of this making you better, and not bitter.

Have you seen "Drops Like Stars" by Rob Bell? It's an amazing 2 hours of exploring the possibilities for redemption and resurrection that come with our suffering.

Michelle Z said...

Hey Steph
You are always in my thoughts and prayers. I know your move forward is working. I cant wait to come visit when things settle a bit...haha michelle "you say" whats settle... I'm glad you have God so close in your healing process. It puts me as a friend, a little at ease. since I cant stop by to see how you are daily. I sure would like too. I need to see your face to truly know how you really are. I miss you so much. Keep doing your best hun.. Evie and Isaac are well taken care of, I know... Just remember the simple things that make kids smile... a quick snuggle for 5 minutes..or sing a cute song to them while your working on getting your stuff done.. I love love love you....

A Young Widow's Rant said...

Hi John, Thanks for the comment! I was inspired to write this post after re-listening to an old series of Rob's on suffering. I bought Drops Like Stars after Matt died, but haven't had a chance to read it yet. . .I should maybe make time now!