Why? When we suffer—whether it be depression, anxiety, loss, abuse, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, or cancer—we think to ourselves: If we’re good people, why do we deserve this? We ask what we did wrong. We beg God to take the pain away. We ask why.
John 9 tells the story of a man who was born blind. The man had suffered his whole life, having to sit and beg, and the disciples asked why. They asked Jesus why the man was born blind, whether it was because of his own sins or his parents’ sins (John 9:2).
“‘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 9:3).
The blind man’s suffering was not because of any sin, but so that Jesus could heal him and use that healing to show the power of God.
God has healing power, and just like Jesus healed the man in the story, He can heal you from your sufferings. But God does allow things to happen so that we come to rely on Him and so that we can show God’s healing and saving powers to others.
We live in an imperfect world, and bad things happen. However, God “causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (Romans 8:28). God will take anything bad and use it for good, for His glory, and for His purpose.
Instead of asking why, we need to “quickly carry out the tasks assigned to us by the one who sent us” (John 9:4), allow God to work through our suffering, and use it for His glory.
The man in the story does this. After gaining his sight, the man repeatedly shares the story of his healing, even though others doubted. His neighbors couldn’t believe this was the same man who used to beg (John 9:8-9). His parents believed but didn’t say anything for fear of persecution (John 9:20-23). The Pharisees disbelieved and claimed Jesus couldn’t have healed the man because Jesus was a sinner (John 9:24).
In response to this, the man said, “‘I don’t know whether he is a sinner… But I know this: I was blind, and now I can see!’”(John 9:25).
After being healed, the man repeatedly shared his story and grew in his faith. We must also believe. We must grow in faith. We must testify for God, claiming we once were blind but now we can see. We must share the stories of our sufferings to show the power of God.
How will you share your story?
For me, I write. I take my trials and sufferings and create stories that share hope. I write stories for and about women finding hope despite pain.
How is God wanting to show His power through you? How is He taking your suffering and using it for good?
Lord, when we suffer, help us to change our “why” to “how.” Instead of asking why these things happen, help us instead to ask how it can be used to show your power and your glory. Thank you for always working all things together for our good. And thank you for your healing power. We once were blind, but now we can see!