Has there ever been a time in your life when there's something you've been looking at for a long time, perhaps even years, that suddenly looks very different when seen in a new light?
Like the time my wife used to think the saying was ‘best thing since life spread’ until it was pointed out that actually, its ‘sliced bread’! Or when the scientists discovered the world was actually round, not flat! Or that first time you go on an aeroplane; suddenly the world looks so small, so intricate, so detailed! Its called a fresh perspective.
But more importantly than Kate getting the point of ‘sliced bread’, or the world looking better from 30,000 feet, as followers of Jesus, we’ve been given the grace to see things not just as they are from a human, natural perspective, but from the eyes of our Father in heaven.
In John 9, Jesus opens up the eyes of a blind man. Its an incredible miracle. But he does so much more than that. He opens the eyes of the hearts of the disciples and everyone else who would listen to show that regardless of the bad situations we face, through Jesus we can see them in a whole new light.
The disciples’s perspective here was almost tunnel vision. They assumed the man was blind because of sin: “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:2). They make the ‘logical’ conclusion that its someone fault!
There's a few problems with this type of perspective, or tunnel vision when it comes to God. The man was born blind. So either he must have been very naughty in the womb, or his parents were extremely sinful, and therefore God has struck their son with blindness! Sound cruel? Most of us would say yes. But how many of us have also tried to link our sickness, or the sickness and struggles of others to ours or their sin, either in the now or the distant past?
It’s true that some of our choices lead to sickness. There are clear lifestyle related health issues. Some of us will have past hurts, mistakes, and unconfessed sins that we need to deal with, that might unlock the door to our healing. Might! The problem with linking all sickness to personal sin means that we place the whole burden for healing on the sufferer. It goes something like ‘get right and get healed’. This is unloving, un-Biblical and not very Christian. Job knew suffering; and he was one of the most righteous men in the Bible! It also makes it more about us than God ever intended.
The truth is that, in our fallen world, when sin entered, so did death (Romans 5:12). One day Jesus will return and all sickness and death will be done away with forever. In the meantime though, Jesus shows a whole new perspective;
Firstly, he says it’s no-ones fault: ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus’ (John 9:3). That's fairly conclusive. Its no-ones fault. Technically, Adam and Eve had quite a bit to do with it. They sinned, they ate the apple, sin entered the world, and sickness followed in its shadow. But that’s not the end of the story. Jesus overcame sickness and death, when he died on the cross and rose again three days later, and will one day return for his glorious church.
But until that day, He is working his glory here on earth whether we see it ‘physically’ or not. He is still reaching out to people wth mud and spit! Listen to Jesus here: “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed” (John 9:3). Jesus is opening up blind spiritual eyes to see that our sickness, our weakness, our brokenness and our mess, are actually opportunities for ‘the work of God to be displayed’. Think about it; that area of your life that overshadows you, that causes you to shrink back, that threatens to throw you off course; maybe, just maybe, God wants to use it ‘‘that the work of God might be displayed?’. You've always seen it as weakness, God wants to turn it into something beautiful.
For sure, an instant healing is going to bring immediate glory to God. I want some of that; a lot of that. But suffering well, facing the impossible with a God of the possible, being fully devoted to Jesus despite things not going to well, that’s guts and glory right there. That's having your muddy moment with Jesus. Just because you haven't seen the healing, doesn't mean God isn’t at work. Jesus picks up the mud, he spits divine saliva into it, and for you and me, he gently rubs it into our lives, into our hearts, into our spirits. God is at work in your mess and in mine. Our old perspective sees weak, impossible and messy. Jesus’ perspective sees an opportunity ‘that the work of God might be displayed in your life’.
- Ask the Holy Spirit for his help to repent of past sin, hurt and things that might still be affecting your walk with God. If you’ve already dealt with it, don’t go there. The Holy Spirit will only reveal what hasn't already been dealt with. Anything else is condemnation.
- What areas of your life can you start to pray in increasing measure for the physical healing to take place?
- What areas of your life currently look impossible, where you need Gods fresh perspective to be revealed? Write them down and discuss them with friends, and think about the times God has come through for you despite it looking impossible. Remind yourself of Gods faithfulness.