Why do bad things happen?
Why did my wife get cancer?
Why did a tsunami wipe out 20,000 people in an instant?
Why is this sin still my master?
These questions have been asked since the earliest of times. In the book of Job (the earliest written book of the Bible), we find a man enduring the destruction of his family, his belongings, his livelihood…everything. Why?
In John 9, Jesus and disciples come across a man blind since birth. And, the disciples ask the question…”who sinned? this man, or his parents?” Isn’t that at the root of our questions? What did “we” do wrong to “earn” the bad things that happened to us? What could a child have done wrong to be swept out to see in 2004 in the Indian Ocean Tsunami? Wow.
“This happened so the power of God could be seen in him. We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work. But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.”
Then he spit on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and spread the mud over the blind man’s eyes.”
I read those words yesterday and my eyes filled with tears as I was overcome with the understanding that it’s really not about me. You see, when man thinks that he is in control of the climate, the things around him…well we are not. God created all. He made the sun, the moon, the stars, the ocean and all that is in it. And, to demonstrate this power, in his sovereignty, he does. This is not the hallmark of a cruel God, but of one in control.
God would be glorified when the man had his sight restored. My friend Rick Lawrence wrote a book called Sifted. In it, we learn that as we are sifted, the revelation of who we are, who we really are, is revealed. Let me tell you who I am.
I am a sinner in need of grace, undeserved, but freely flowing anyway.
The bad things that happen in my life, the unresolved sin, the bitterness held in my heart, the frustration, those are all symptomatic of my desire to hold on to who I am. It is only in the sifting, graciously allowed by God, that send me to His throne weeping and begging for that which I neither deserve nor can do on my own.
Oh, that God’s power would be seen in my life, seen because He has freed me from sin. Seen because He’s allowed me to become his righteousness. Seen because I love, serve and give freely, in the manner that He loves, serves, and gives to me.