Originally published Saturday, 16 November 2013.
Jesus said, “You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do. John 9:1-5 (MSG)
My husband is standing on a stage and he is telling his story.
The story of how he grew up in part of town where rich kids wouldn’t go, with a single mom. A tale of creating the life he wanted when his circumstances said his goals were impossible.
The perfect place to end the story would probably be when he marries the girl of his dreams (me) and sets off to travel the world.
But life isn’t a fairytale. (tweet this)
The next chapter of his life is the one everyone has gathered to hear. It starts with the retelling of the day he heard he had cancer, and it ends with a stem cell transplant, just 3 months ago.
He finishes, and someone raises their hand, and asks, “Do you know what caused your cancer?”
Their question aches with the fear that there is nothing that can be done to avoid pain.
I wonder if they realise that what they are really asking is, “Could what happened to you, happen to me?”
I think they want to hear, “I got cancer because I did not do XYZ.”
Then they could do XYZ and avoid the pain that cancer brings. And they wouldn’t have to be afraid anymore.
I find it fascinating that Jesus was asked the same question centuries ago.
John shares this story in chapter 9 verse 1-2, “Walking down the street, Jesus saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, causing him to be born blind?”
There it is, the echo, of how can I avoid pain and suffering? How can I make sure it doesn’t happen to me?
I like how Jesus responds, “You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do.”
Jesus’ answer changes everything.
He flips the question from, “How can I make sure it doesn’t happen to me?” to “God, what can you do with my life?”
Jesus moves us from fear to hope in him.
He lifts our eyes from our hard things to the One who can do impossible things.
Jesus invites us to live a life that is bigger than our fears. (tweet this)
Jesus never promises that our fears won’t become reality.
He just reminds us that in our fears God will be present, that God will be finding a way to make everything right, and that if we look for what God is doing in hard times we will see him bringing life, life and more life out of it.
Ponder: What do you fear about the future? Do you believe that even if your worst fears come true that God is able to bring life from it?
Prayer: God, help me to live a life that is bigger than my fears. Amen. (tweet this)
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