For most of my life I sailed right through the healing passages in the Bible. They were all great stories, but with little actual impact on my life or my conception about God:
- The healing of the paralytic who was lowered through the roof (Mark 2) – sure glad he had those friends.
- The cleansing of Namaan’s leprosy (2 Kings 5) – how nice for him that God took that leprosy away.
- The giving of sight to the man born blind (John 9) – bet that man was happy Jesus came around!
Then I was given my own little man born blind (along with a whole list of other things) and John 9 was no longer a nice story about Jesus helping a poor, blind beggar. This exact issue was in my own home and frighteningly real—and my heart hurt so much I thought I might die.
Human suffering forces us out of complacency. Especially our own suffering. Reading the Bible took on a whole new kind of seriousness for me.
For a season I hated John 9. But only for a season. I look back now and realize God was up to something beyond anything I could have imagined.
Over the coming weeks, and under this theme of “the works of God,” we will explore some of the serious, joy-filled richness of God’s word in relation to disease and disability.
The more one looks at the passages related to disease and disability, the more one will struggle to understand. As Pastor John taught more than a decade ago, that is a very good thing for those of us who want more of God and who are desperately in need of help:
If you feel dependent on God to help you see the meaning of a text, then you will cry to him for help. I see this in Psalm 119:18 "Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Your law." Seven times in one psalm the psalmist prays, "Teach me your statutes" (Psalm 119:12, 26, 64, 68,124, 135, 171). Or as Psalm 25:5 says, "Lead me in thy truth, and teach me." By inspiring some things hard to understand, God has unleashed in the world desperation which leads to supplication—the crying out to God for help (Why God Inspired Hard Texts, March 14, 1999).