While Jesus was walking through the streets, he and his followers came upon a man born blind. As was the custom of the day, he was beside the road asking for money.
His disciples asked him, "Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"
Jesus answered "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life."
Jesus then took some mud and placed it on the man's eyes and told him to go wash it off. When the man did as Jesus had told him, he was able to see.
Several things about this story interested me. The first was the disciples assumption that the man was blind because of something that he or his parents had done wrong. It is typical of us to make such snap judgments. Without even knowing the man's name, the disciples had already decided that his misfortune was punishment.
Do we really think that God is so simple that he rewards "good people" and punishes "bad people?" Apparently, this man was not the only blind person in the story.
In God's eyes, there are only two categories and they are perfect and imperfect. So if He handed out judgment instantaneously we would all be destroyed upon our first breaking of His laws.
I have seen wonderful, faithful and genuinely good people suffer. I have also seen people that by their own admission are ruthless, vile and self-centered succeed and be prosperous.
Our ways are not God's ways. His thoughts are far beyond our comprehension. His scriptures are a testimony to His goodness and mercy as well as His perfection. We can grow in our understanding of Him but we can never come close to fully knowing Him.
Another point of this story that I find interesting is how Jesus healed the man. Jesus sometimes spoke a word and healing took place. Other times He would touch the person needing healing. A father asked for his help and He even healed a child from a distance. Each time he seemed to take a different approach.
This time he made mud and put it on the blind man's eyes. He also required the man to wash at a specific pool in order to be healed. The man, without ever seeing Jesus, had to trust Him and obey Him in order to receive his healing.
God crafted each one of us to be completely unique from everyone else. He also approaches us in that same manner by meeting us where we are. That is why the disciple's assumption was so far off the mark.
We need to be extremely cautious in how we perceive others and their circumstances. Everything that is, was created that the work of God might be displayed.
Sometimes we cannot know why things are the way they are. We have to do what the man did and step out on faith knowing that the God who created us loves us dearly and gave His very life in order that we might be saved from the punishment that we all deserve. By trusting Him and asking His forgiveness of all the things we have done wrong, we can receive spiritual healing and His salvation.