I find myself needing to apologize yet again for allowing so much time to pass between posts. I finally figured out how to have Live Writer (the program I use for blogging) on more than one computer since I don’t spend much time in the office anymore.
I wanted to thank you all for your prayers, for your understanding, for your encouragement. Some posted comments here, and some sent e-mails, some phoned; but all of you were so sweet and gentle in reminding me of God’s goodness and giving me permission to be human. I love each of you for that.
My pace through the Bible has grown very slow. I have always read at night. It’s the only time the house is completely quiet, and I usually am relaxed and ready to learn. I admit there have been nights when I’ve fallen asleep before I finished a chapter. I do a fair amount of re-reading. But that’s not such a bad thing because sometimes reading a passage twice really helps me get it.
I’m in the book of John currently. In Chapter 9, Jesus heals a blind man. It’s a familiar story to me, and I must have fallen asleep somewhere around the part where the Pharisees put the man and his parents on trial to hear testimony about who healed him and how. So the next night I read it again. And this time, the part that jumped out at me was the first few verses.
And as [Jesus] passed by, he saw a man which was blind from [his] birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. (John 9:1-3)
Have you ever been facing something really hard and wondered “What did I do that God needed to punish me like this?” I know I have examined my heart each time Jeff’s leukemia showed up. And when I came to the conclusion that this cancer isn’t punishment for something I did or he did, I started to wonder if God is trying to get someone else’s attention by punishing us for their wayward lifestyle. (I realize it sounds crazy. I’m not implying it’s a rational line of thought, it just happens to be a common thought process among those who suffer and those watching someone suffer.)
Punishing you to teach someone else a lesson? That’s what terrorists do, and God is certainly no terrorist!
So then why the suffering?
Jesus answered his disciples’ question about this issue by telling them it wasn’t a punishment for either the blind man or his parents, but that there was a reason for it. God had allowed it so that His glory could be shown when Jesus healed him.
Could God restore Jeff’s sight and health?
I do not anticipate a miracle like this one for him. But if I am interpreting the message of this passage correctly, I can trust that the work of God is being made manifest in Jeff. We may never fully grasp the ways God has used leukemia for His glory until we get to heaven and our understanding is perfect.
And when I think of it that way, my perspective can shift from questioning God’s plan to feeling humbled for having been entrusted with so great a task as to bring God glory in the face of suffering.