As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth and His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
– John 9:1–3
There’s a ton we could talk about with these verses and it just gets into some pretty deep levels pretty quickly.
John 9:1–3 Portrays Suffering as God’s Servant
But I just want to point out the obvious, and lead us to pray according to that, which is crystal clear in these verses. When we see someone who is blind or who has a disability or special need, or even someone who is sick, we definitely don’t need to conclude somebody sinned to cause this, either that person or that person’s parents. Now, we do see disastrous effects from sin all over the Bible, including physical effects from sin, but we need to be really careful not to conclude that this or that sickness or disability or special need is attributed to some sin.
Ultimately, yes, to the fact that there is sin in the world and we live in a fallen world where creation is groaning for redemption and our bodies are longing for redemption, and that plays out in so many different ways. I think about all the men and women and kids in just my church family who have special needs or disabilities, or even who are sick in ways that are not attributed to someone’s sin. But Jesus said that the works of God might be displayed in him. And you read down in the rest of this chapter and you see an amazing story of Jesus giving this blind man sight in a way that glorified God.
John 9:1–3 Reminds Us All Things Work Together for Good
And I can absolutely testify to men and women and kids I know, with all of the above, with disabilities or special needs or sickness, where God is showing His glory, His goodness, His love, His wisdom, His beauty, His power in awesome ways, in the middle of sickness, in the middle of special needs, in the middle of disabilities.
I’m not at all presuming that’s easy for anyone in any of these categories, anyone who’s listening to this, who finds yourself struggling physically in any particular way, mentally in any particular way, but to know and believe that God is good and God will show His glory on behalf of those who trust in him, in the middle of disability, in the middle of special need, in the middle of sickness, in ways far beyond what anyone could imagine.
“And one day,” Romans 8, “our bodies, for all who trust in Jesus, will be totally redeemed,” and wheelchairs will be no more, special needs will be no more, and sickness will be no more, and blindness will be no more. Jesus has died on the cross and He has risen from the grave. He has conquered sin and death, and one day our bodies will be raised to be like His glorious body. And the work of God will be displayed in ways that resound to His glory and our joy, our good.
Praying for the Manifestation of God’s Glory
God, bring it about, we pray. We long for the redemption of our bodies, specifically long for the redemption of our brothers and sisters, adults and children who have special needs, disabilities, who are fighting with sickness right now. Lord, we can’t wait for the day when these things will be gone, when we will be in your presence and your glory will be on full display in the full, final, entire redemption of all of our bodies who have trusted in you.
Jesus, we praise you for your work and we pray for your sustenance, your strength and your comfort, and your peace, and your help in every way we need, in every way, specifically those with special needs, those with disabilities, those who are walking through sickness right now. We pray for your grace upon grace over them as we anticipate fulfillment of your promises for your glory and our joy in the future. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.