Why do bad things happen to good people? It’s a question that has plagued the people of earth almost since the very beginning. The oldest book in the Bible, Job, tackles that issue right from the top. Unfortunately, it doesn’t provide very many answers. Job demands an explanation for his suffering, and God essentially tells him, “You wouldn’t understand if I told you.”
When Jesus’ disciples see this man blind from birth, their assumption is neat and easy: sin is at the heart of his suffering. “So whose sin is it, Jesus? His or his parents?” The only logical reason God would let someone suffer as this man has suffered is that he is being punished. That sort of theology is neat and easy. It makes suffering fit in our little boxes. Now we are responsible for the good and the bad that happen – God is merely the arbitrator of a form of karma.
But Jesus rejects these sort of over-simplified explanations. In fact, He rejects any explanation at all. He doesn’t go back and explain that, yes, sin is behind all suffering – but it’s not NECESSARILY some specific sin – it’s a sign of the brokenness of all of us. Jesus doesn’t walk through how sin destroyed everything in Eden, most notably Adam and Eve’s unhindered fellowship with God. How it invited disease and aging and death into the world. How every person stands broken and disfigured before God, and how without His Grace not one person enters His presence. Jesus doesn’t remind them that what has happened to this man can happen to any one of us – God hasn’t given us those sort of guarantees in this life.
Instead, Jesus points to something greater – “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” Translation: “God is about to use this moment to show you something incredible.”
Are you hurting today? God is not the author of evil. The pain and suffering caused by disease and dysfunction were not His invention or desire. Amazingly, however, He uses even those moments to reveal His glory to us. We Worship a God who rose from the grave – turning a place of mourning into a place of ultimate triumph. He can do the same in your darkest hour. If you are hurting, turn to Him. He has not gone anywhere. He loves you. And He can replace your darkness with light and your despair with hope.