Why God's "Good Design"?

On November 8 Desiring God will host a new conference: "The Works of God: God's Good Design in Disability". Pastor John said it well in his introduction: the theme of this conference is both biblical and controversial.

The controversy is easy to see. How can we possibly say that our good God is intimately involved in something as hard as disability? More than one person has said that seems more like the works of Satan rather than the works of God.

But if you take the Bible seriously, God openly proclaims his sovereignty over hard things, even disability. 

Here are two instances (among others) when the phrase “the works of God” appears in the Bible:

  • Psalm 78:7 . . . so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments (ESV)
  • John 9:1–3, 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.” (ESV)

Both of these passages are relevant for this conference — and for your life.

The speakers at this event are joining together in the desire to live out Psalm 78. The most loving thing to want for anyone is for them to treasure Jesus and “to set their hope in God.” This is especially true for those who are suffering.

And because God is infinitely good and kind and righteous, we trust that God has a good design in disability. John 9 clearly states a wonderful and hard truth: God creates some people to live with a disability so that his works can be displayed more clearly and more gloriously.

If you struggle to feel the reality of God’s goodness and sovereignty in this way, we'd love for you to join us at this conference where we long to see more of him for our lives and circumstances.

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John Knight is Director of Donor Partnerships at Desiring God. He is married to Dianne and together they parent their four children: Paul, Hannah, Daniel, and Johnny. Paul lives with multiple disabilities including blindness, autism, cognitive impairments, and a seizure disorder. John blogs on issues of disability, the Bible, and the church at The Works of God.