In the eyes of the disciples the man was a mere pebble in the pathway. Sitting in the dust with outstretched palm and blank stare, the blind man of John 9 was an untouchable. But not to Jesus. Even a cursory examination of John 9 demonstrates that Jesus saw the man differently. While Jesus’ followers concluded sin was the cause of the man’s dilemma, Jesus was beginning to gather spittle in His mouth for a most inglorious but effective medicine. “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” Jesus offered. “But this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in His life.”
With that, Jesus spit on the dusty city street and began with calloused fingers to make a mudpack that He applied to the man’s eyes. One wonders what the blind man must have thought as this kind stranger hunkered so closely to the blind man’s weathered face. Had anyone ever been that close before? Could the man feel Jesus’ breath and smell Jesus garments?
Upon applying the muddy salve Jesus ordered the man to head south toward the fabled Pool of Siloam. What an adventure that must have been—a blind man with mud caked on his eyes ambling by himself through the crowded and narrow streets of Jerusalem. This is one of Scripture’s greatest treks of faith. And one can only imagine the first thing the man saw upon rinsing his eyes in that cool spring water—his own reflection. Uhmmm!
Surveying the man’s journey brings to mind four truths about suffering that are worthy of your interest. First, God always sees you in your suffering. The blind man was not a mere pebble in the pathway to be kicked around by hapless passers-by. He was a precious child in the eyes of the Savior, catching His attention and care when no one else would notice. Secondly, God’s silence does not mean God is gone. The blind man’s journey toward the Pool of Siloam was one of faith. He had to trust that Jesus had a plan worth following. Jesus did not verbally lead the man to the place, but that did not imply that Jesus did not care or had forgotten. Indeed, the results at the pool demonstrate the God was at work the whole time. God’s silence does not mean He is gone—it may simply mean that He is quietly and intently watching as His children apply faith in their circumstances.
Thirdly, you may never know suffering’s cause. The disciples believed that the man or his family must have sinned. This could have been the case, but it did not have to be. The response of Jesus is important. He did not offer any reason other than that God’s power might be displayed. “Is that it?” we are prone to ask. The cause is somewhat inconsequential. It is the care in the midst of the suffering that is worthy of notice. Which leads to the fourth truth: You know the Savior more readily in the midst of suffering. Why? Because “you participate in the sufferings of Christ” (1Pe 4:13), and in so doing see His character and power more clearly. He is with you—always! And because this is so you can stand firm and endure and finish well.
After all, to Jesus, you are no pebble in the pathway.