Family of Christ Lutheran Church

Jesus and his disciples met a man who was born blind. The disciples asked who had sinned, his parents or the man, that he was born blind? The question of the disciples reflected the thinking of many people at that time that the calamities of life were inflicted upon people by God. That thinking was expressed by many people about 60 years ago in our nation’s history. Many babies were born with horrible birth defects. Babies were born without arms, some without legs, some with other birth defects. People in the church quietly thought it was a punishment from God because the mothers were taking some kind of medicine that was intended to relieve their anxieties and make them happy. Some people in the church were sure God was punishing those mothers.
The answer that Jesus gave to his disciples in John chapter 9 verse 3 offers a different understanding of the calamities of life. Jesus said that the man was born blind so that the works of God might be displayed in him. Jesus made a little mud, put it on the eyes of the blind man and told him to go and wash in a nearby pool and when he did the man was able to see. The rest of Chapter 9 reports the conversation that took place between the man and the religious rulers of that day.
That miracle enables us to examine our own thinking about why calamities of life happen today. Since all of life is controlled by our creator, the eternal God, we need to consider the possibility that God has a purpose other than punishing sin in his mind when he makes or allows a calamity to happen. The God we worship is not masochistic but is a gracious merciful loving father. In his wisdom he is not limited by human limitations. He knows very well how calamity in one person’s life can affect many other people and therefore make something happen that seems to be bad for one person, but can in fact be very good for a great many other people and it may take some time before that becomes evident.
We are still in the time of lent. Jesus, the innocent son of God, was crucified. That was a calamity beyond human understanding and yet you and I today give Glory to God because it happened. Because Jesus was crucified, you and I have forgiveness for all of our sins. We have peace with God. We have the promise of eternal life. Those blessings are ours because the eternal God who governs all of our life and lets calamities happen, gave his beloved son for us.
When something bad happens to us or to another person, it is better to withhold judgment and wait to see what our merciful God’s plan is. In his love for all people he intends to do good. Remember that his thoughts are higher than ours and his ways are better than ours.

Elmer Schiefer