Transformed – teen devotion – March 19, 2023
One truth shared: Jesus offers spiritual sight.
His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.
Why did God allow that tragedy happen? Why did that natural disaster strike? Why did he get sick? Why did she break up with me? Why did that car accident happen? Why, God? When hard things happen, it’s easy to wonder “why”? In John 9, the disciples thought they had an answer to such questions when they met a man who had been born blind. “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
It’s a logical line of thought. Was this man’s blindness a punishment for something he had done? Something his parents had done? What about today? Maybe this hard thing I’m facing is God punishing me! If I’m honest, I have to admit that I’ve been treated far better than I rightly deserve! Or, when life is going smoothly, maybe a related question arises: Lots of people have hardships, when is my turn coming? Surely I deserve it!
Such thinking seems to make sense, but the Bible calls such thinking spiritual blindness. It misses a critical point: God doesn’t interact with his people that way. Why not? One word: Jesus! Jesus already took care of all the punishment there is for sin! He already took on his back the entirety of God’s wrath. He paid for the smallest sins of thought that fly across the mind and that major transgression from years ago that you just can’t seem to get out of your head and everything in between!
That beautiful reality doesn’t necessarily answer the question “why” when it comes to hardships, but it does grant a change of perspective in a very important way: Hardship is indeed hard, but it’s not punishment for sin! That’s spiritual sight, and it’s based on Jesus all the way. When Jesus died he said, “It is finished,” and it was. Because of that, hard things have a blessing-filled place in the beautiful purposes God has drawn up for his world and for your life. That was the case for the blind man. Jesus told his disciples, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.” Jesus went on to heal the man and taught all who were watching an important lesson.
The same thing is true for you. God’s purposes might be realized in quiet words of encouragement offered to someone suffering something similar, calm confidence in the Savior’s promises amidst most challenging of times, or patient endurance under persecution. That’s spiritual sight! Look at the promises of God, and you’ll find the strength to accept even things that remain hard to understand!
Prayer: Dear Jesus, sometimes life and the world are hard, confusing, and painful. Sometimes it’s hard for me to see what your plan is. Help me overcome my spiritual blindness by fixing my attention on your precious promises. Grant me the calm of quiet trust in your forgiveness, and the perspective of looking at life through your promises. Teach me to rely on your promises and accept even those things I struggle to understand. Amen.