Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him.” John 9:3
We often wonder about the problems in our lives. Some seem to be caused by things we do or don’t do. They are our fault. Other problems seem to be a matter of “good genes” or “bad genes.” We simply have to deal with the hand we are dealt and it seems to be no one’s fault in particular. Still other problems are caused by someone else’s actions. Their maliciousness or carelessness causes us pain or trouble.
In John 9, Jesus meets a man who was born blind. People have been blaming him or his parents since the day he was born. Someone must have done something for this to have happened. It must be someone’s fault. We see this tactic used to blame rape victims, blame people who are poor for having no money, and all sorts of other places in our world. If we can blame the victim then knowing they must have done something wrong makes us feel better since as long as we do things “right” we can avoid their fate.
In response to this “blame theology,” Jesus says no one is to blame. It is just the way things are. But these things are a chance for God to work in some way that people don’t expect and a chance to see God at work. People are shocked and offended. But Jesus continues and shows God’s work in the man’s life – his sight is restored.
What if we would take a step back from our lives and problems? Imagine that the problems you have (every one of them) are not just plights you have caused or received. Imagine that God is trying to work through them and in spite of them. What would be different if you let yourself own your problems in ways that opened you up for God to work. You may not get what you want or expect from God. But every situation is a chance for God to work. If you are willing to be surprised and transformed by whatever may come, God may not always heal you or give you what you want, but God will always be doing something to bring life out of the things that threaten to destroy us.