Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is still day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the blind man’s eyes with the clay. And He said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing (John 9: 1–7.)
In the first century it was commonly believed that all deformity and dysfunction was the result of sin. Therefore the disciples inquired whose sin had caused the man’s blindness. Jesus revealed that the man’s deformity came not by sin, but by the will of God. In healing the man, God was honored and glorified. Often the things that appear tragic are designed to bring God the greatest glory. Tragedy and adversity are not always punishments; in fact, frequently they are the greatest blessings we will ever know.
In 2003 a 13 year old Christian girl named Bethany Hamilton was surfing when a 14 foot tiger shark attacked her. The shark severed her left arm just below the shoulder. She nearly bled to death before being rushed to the hospital. Bethany had been one of the top competitive junior surfers in the world prior to her injury. Despite her strong faith, she questioned why God would allow her to endure such a tragedy. She was determined to surf again competitively. Trusting in God, Bethany entered the water and began training nearly 3 weeks after her accident. She started with a long board (making it easier to paddle.) She then moved to a smaller board, and then to a smaller board; until finally, she was once again surfing on a short board. Because Bethany refused to quit she has gone on to place in and win many of the world’s top female surf competitions. Her experience has become world famous; she has received thousands of letters and numerous awards; she has appeared on ‘20/20, Good Morning America, and the Oprah Winfrey Show,’ to name a few. She eventually published a book chronicling her struggle and victory (her story has recently been made in to a major motion picture entitled “Soul Surfer.”) Throughout her ordeal, Bethany has remained an outspoken Christian. She thanks Jesus Christ for her strength, her courage, and her triumph. Was losing her arm God’s will? Yes. What appeared to be a tragedy, has become the greatest blessing she has ever known. With two arms she would have likely won some surf competitions (she might have even made it on to the cover of a surf magazine.) Yet with God in her heart and one missing arm, she has been able to reach the whole world. She is a symbol of faith and a living example of God’s ability to take the broken and make them whole again.
Is there anything in your life that you struggle with; something that seems tragic; a source of shame or pain? Take another look; you may find a wonderful victory hidden within a great calamity. Seek the Lord, and He will strengthen you and lift you up. Lean on God, and let Him use you; He will take your weaknesses and make them your strengths. When He transforms your life, remember to give Him the credit He deserves. Utilize God’s power and have faith; never give up; face your fears; and many will see ‘the glory of God,’ revealed in you.
“Lord Heavenly Father, we ask that You turn our weaknesses in to our strengths. May Your enduring power and wisdom give us victory over the obstacles we face. Heal us Father, and fill us with Your courage, that by faith, we may overcome our fears and shortcomings; through the power of Your Holy Spirit may we all be able to say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name. Amen.” God bless all of you.