The Right Question

As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing. (John 9:1-7 ESV). Twenty-six crosses stand in a field on the edge of town to honor the 26 victims killed at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland. Perhaps you are asking the question, “Why?” I do. Following such a great tragedy it is often the first thought; however, it must not be our last thought. That should be the question of “Who?” I think part of God’s will in ordaining a calamity is that we weep with those who weep. That is part of the plan. God brings to pass all things. Spurgeon said, “…every dust mote that flies in the air, or every little globule of spray in every harbor in the wake of every boat in the world, is guided on its path through the air by God.” Once you get to the point of believing in the providence and sovereignty of God to that extent, then you see that God intends weeping, the abhorrence of evil, the rescue of the perishing, and the healing of the broken-hearted, to be a part of his plan. Our reading helps us with this principle. When Jesus met the man who was born blind, people said, “Ok, who sinned, this man or his parents?” (v. 2). And Jesus answered, “It is neither. This man was born blind for the glory of God” (v. 3). This means that when God ordained that this man endure 30 years of blindness, he was also willing that there be some responses to it of a certain kind. And the shepherds who were caring for him in the synagogue had the wrong kind of response, because when he got healed they didn’t even rejoice. They had hearts that were terrible. And Jesus wanted people to rejoice and to see God and to glorify God. So the point is this. If you see a calamity and you know God could have stopped it, which he always could, and he didn’t stop it, so he must have a purpose in it. Don’t draw the irrational, unbiblical conclusion that God doesn’t us involved in bringing him glory in this unspeakable horror. This is the conclusion of a person who has gotten halfway into the Bible and has started to draw human conclusions rather than biblical conclusions. God wills for the beautiful virtues of outrage at sin and compassion for victims and efforts of relief to be manifested in the midst of the calamities that he himself is in charge of. That reflects the real glory of God. That answers the real...

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