The Disciples, gesturing toward a man who was blind from birth ask who had committed the sin that caused the blindness. His parents? Himself?
“It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
The reason for this man’s blindness is that God intended to display his work in the man. Which raises the question, “What was the work?”
The answer seems to be that God’s work is for the man to see not only natural light but spiritual light. That the man be given natural eyes, and that he be given spiritual eyes. That he see the glory of this world, and the glory of its Maker, Jesus Christ. And that he become a worshipper of Him.
From this I conclude that in every disability, whether genetically from the womb, or circumstantially from an accident, or infectiously from a disease, God has a design. He has a purpose, for his own glory, and for the good of his people who love him and are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).
All disability is hard to bare. But our culture tends to see disability as more than an imposition to be avoided. Our culture sees at least some disability as an excuse to terminate life, as though the potential of the individual – or apparent lack of it – trumps the design and purpose of God. And then, so as not to appear callous, we hold Olympiads.
We know that every ill that befalls a man is because he is a sinner living in a sinful world. But God does not make mistakes in measuring out our suffering and our abilities.
The disciples were inclined to look back and find a cause. Jesus redirects them to the future in order to reveal the cure. The purpose of disability is the greater display and discovery of Jesus, our great Physician. This should be the posture of every Christian.
We live, in sickness and in health, with an eye on future grace.