Stephen spoke this morning at Cherry Tree Court from John 9:1-3. Here, we find Jesus encountering (and ultimately healing) a man blind from birth, and the questions asked about his blindness still reverberate in our society. When something bad happens, the tendency is to look for someone to blame, and so people asked Jesus if the man or his parents had sinned, implying that his disability was a direct consequence of sin. The question was simply whose.
Blaming others is a natural human defence mechanism, going back to the first sin (Gen 3:11-13). We like to find fault or to blame others, and even God does not get away scot-free, for we are self-centred – and when we suffer tragedy, illness, suffering, pain, sorrow and loss, our first question is often, ‘What did I do to deserve this?’ Jesus challenges this tendency to blame ourselves or others, refuting the direct correlation between sin and problems. He told the people that ‘this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him’ and we are forced to see in this encounter that God can be glorified in all circumstances of our lives, even those we struggle to accept. Jesus performed a miracle and restored the man’s sight and He can perform miracles for us too. God makes the difference in our lives and is the presence we need to face every problem.
God wants us to move beyond blame-shifting and even beyond our relentless need to have answers to all our questions. He wants us to be confident He is on our side (Rom 8:31-32) and to walk in daily dependence on Him. God is the solution to everything we face in life; He is the presence who truly makes a difference.