On the morning I wrote this, some obnoxious people woke me up early as they were walking up and down our avenue pushing a shopping cart and talking and laughing in that loud way that suggests they were under the influence (shopping cart wheels are very LOUD in the middle of the night!). My sark suggested some things I could do to them, and the Spirit told me to pray for their salvation. I’m glad I have matured enough to not waste time fighting over such things.
The next thing I come to in my Bible study through John is a whole chapter dedicated to Jesus healing a blind man, along with all the relational dynamics that came into play. What starts with Jesus healing a blind man ends with the man believing in Jesus (the “seeing” Jesus was aiming for) and Jesus showing the religious hypocrites they were blind no matter how arrogant they were that they could see.
However, what stood out was a statement Jesus made that was parallel to one we looked at in home church on Sunday. Today the threads of the tapestry seemed all the brighter, perhaps for the way they were woven together. Here they are side-by-side:
Parallel 1: It is not what is wrong with us that is the issue. The first man’s blindness, or Lazarus’s illness killing him, are not the focus. It doesn’t even matter what we have done or what our parents have done. It doesn’t even matter if it is the worst-case scenario ever (someone dying). This is the common denominator, that what is wrong with us isn’t the issue. It’s just the stage.
Parallel 2: Everything is about how God would display his works in our lives for his glory and our good, or for his praise and our joy. It doesn’t matter if blindness gives God the opportunity to grant us sight, or death gives him the opportunity to reveal himself as the Resurrection and the Life. Everything is about God glorifying the Son in what is wrong with us so the Son may glorify the Father in our lives no matter what we are going through.
John concludes his gospel with, “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”
The purpose of the signs was to lead people to believe in Jesus so they could have the life he came to give. The result of Jesus healing the blind man was that he came to believe that Jesus was “the Son of Man,” the Savior of the world. It also exposed that the Pharisees were blind, calling them to the poor-in-spiritness that would open their hearts to the blessing of God.
Processing all these things led me to feel a very distinct urging of the Spirit to crucify any focus on my sins or what is wrong with my parents (as he directed attention away from these things with the blind man). At the same time, my attention must be on things that are wrong with me in order to surrender to God’s activity of displaying his work in my life so that the Father is glorifying the Son in order that the Son can glorify the Father.
I was quite thankful to have that opportunity to be up early seeking God about something that was so deliberately prepared to bless me. I do believe that God will continue tweaking this in me so I can turn my attention from how I or others have sinned, to letting God use things that are wrong with me to put his glory on display.
My response is to follow Paul’s counsel myself, and together with you, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
God has a work he wants to do in my weakness. With fear and trembling I will let him use my weakness to set the stage on which he can do his work. Yikes, sigh, Praise the Lord!!!
Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)