Hardship as an Opportunity for Grace

god's light gospel of john hardship sin Feb 08, 2023

Blog by Alan Fadling

As he went along, [Jesus] saw a man blind from birth. 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. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” - John 9:1-5


I love this chapter in the Gospel of John. Jesus and his disciples continue their journey together and come across a man who had been born blind. The conventional wisdom of that culture taught that blindness was an obvious evidence of sin. Somebody did something wrong. Was it the blind man’s parents? Was his blindness somehow a punishment?


This is a common misconception about suffering. It was one of the erroneous assumptions that Job’s friends made—if only Job would figure out what he’d done wrong and repent, everything would be fine.


Here in John 9, Jesus turns conventional wisdom on its head—something he often did. He says the man’s blindness is not a consequence of sin or an occasion for judgment. Blindness, like many other unfortunate human conditions, is an opportunity for God to be graciously working and for us to join God in his work.


In this case, the work of God will be one of healing. But it seems to me that the work of God could also have been a work of compassion, a work of service, or a work of blessing. This is the sort of work the Father does, and Jesus joins him in this work.


Jesus is the light of the world who brings to light the work of God that we might join him in. Night is a time when no one can work because no one can see what they are doing. If I walk in the light of God, I will see the good work he gives me to join him in.


In my own sufferings, struggles, or hardships, I wonder how Jesus wants to shine in my life. How might places of darkness around me become the backdrop for the beauty of his glory?


For Reflection 

  • What in your life or experience is hard or unwelcome? What might it look like for Christ to shine right there? Ask Jesus how he would like to shine in your life in this place.


Photo by Josh Nuttall on Unsplash