Scripture Reading: John 9:1-3
We thank the Lord for another opportunity to share from the table of God’s word through today’s devotional. In times of immense suffering and hardship, or when one sees the “unbearable” conditions, some believers are passing through, one cannot but ask “Why is this happening to me” or “why is this happening to them.” It is a very honest question. However, according to Dan Ledwith such questions are often difficult to answer. Within the question of “why is this happening to me?” is a more complex question of “What did I do wrong to deserve this?” Put differently, “is it my fault that I am suffering this?” “Is it their faults that they are suffering that?”
Our Scriptural reading captures the two common answers people usually give to such questions “His disciples asked Him, ”Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:2) Many of us are quick to attribute people’s sufferings to their sins or evil generational or evil family root. We have compounded people’s problem by holding them responsible for what they did not cause. A sister who has been married for seven years without a child once lamented “I kept my virginity unto marriage, but some of my husband’s family accused me of numerous abortions during my youthful days.” A Christian friend once said, “No one is in a position to have an expectation of good. We have done everything to deserve punishment for our sins, and have done nothing to deserve the reward of good.” I fully agree that any good we experience is only the result of God’s mercy. However, it is biblically myopic to teach that every individual suffering is as a result of sins committed or even family root. Although that may be the case sometimes, but not in all cases. “What did I do wrong to deserve this?” The only reason this question is asked is when there is no discernible connection between the choices we have made and the circumstances of our suffering. When a sincere believer asks the questions: “what did I do wrong, why is this happening to me, is it my fault or that of my family root?” The believer is just being sincere in his/her confusion, seeking for understanding and grace to keep holding unto God even in the midst of the storms. We live in a world that is broken and marred by sin and sometimes we get knocked down by the evil in it. In a world where people are fallen and bent towards evil, we will inevitably fall victim to the harmful choices of others that we have nothing to do with. Dan Ledwith shares his story thus: “When I was a teenager a friend of mine and I went into Boston for
the day. While we were walking down the street, we were jumped from behind and attacked by a gang (apparently because I looked similar to a member of a rival gang). What did I do wrong to deserve that? Nothing. I fell victim to the reality of original sin.” Should we blame Abel for his death at the hand of Cain his brother? Dear friends in Christ, if God has permitted suffering to come to you, do not lose faith, it is unto glory, and it will end in praise. John 9:3 says, ”Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, ”but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. Your suffering only provides an opportunity for God to manifest his miraculous power in your life.
We shall continue tomorrow.
Gal 3: 7-14; Ps 111: 1b-2. 3-4. 5-6; (R.5b); Accl Jn 12:31b-32; Lk 11: 15-26
OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY MEMORIAL
- Thank You Father that Your grace is sufficient for all Your children, including those that are facing severe persecutions and dangers in so many parts of this war-torn world. But Lord they are all our brothers and sisters in Christ and we are all one in Him, and the pain that individual believers are suffering becomes a corporate distress for the Body of Christ. And so Lord we lift up all those that are having to contend with so many dangers and difficulties worldwide. Comfort and strengthen each precious person who is suffering for righteousness sake and we ask that You would draw very close to each and every one so that in Your strength they may persevere in these troublesome times – and in so doing bring glory to Yourself and serve as a faithful witness.. to those that are lost in their sins, of Your grace and goodness. Support all those that are grieving for righteousness sake we pray, perhaps due to the loss of a loved one or severe deprivation. Comfort and give succour to each hurting heart and keep each one firm in the faith they have in Christ Jesus our Lord. Thank You Lord that there is not one of Your children who is lost to Your eyes of pity and we lift each and every one up to You in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Exercise: Do something concrete to bring happiness into the life of a suffering believer around you.
Memory Verse: Romans 8:18.