2004-12-30 - Cause and Effect
John 9:1-3 And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? 3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him (KJV)
Only a few days ago a massive earthquake and tidal wave combination struck the southeastern portion of Asia. The devastation has been immense and the death toll rises hourly by leaps too large for the human mind to really grasp. The last report I read held the count at 80 thousand dead. Millions are homeless. And the threat of disease looms as water sources have become contaminated. As aid from around the world begins to pour in to the battered nations, the horrible numbers will only get worse.
"If there is a God, how could He allow such a thing to happen?", the plaintive cry goes out. Much like the question of the disciples asking about the cause of the blindness in the man they passed, God is again on the hot seat. Yes, absolutely, God is omniscient and omnipotent. He knew the quake was coming and He could have prevented it. Instead of asking the question as an accusation, honestly ask the question. Maybe not "how", but "why" is the right question?
The man passed by the disciples was born blind. He and his family endured the physical handicap and all of it's manifold ripple effects. The disciples asked a common question about cause and effect. In the next few lines of the chapter, Jesus restored the sight of this man. The power and grace of God were made clear to everyone who would ask honest questions. The story, no doubt, went from village to village about the man born blind who can see again and the Rabbi who healed him. I doubt that in the history of mankind an individual born blind had ever, or only in extremely rare circumstances, had their sight restored. Imagine the joy of this man seeing his parents, neighbors and friends for the first time. Jesus makes it clear that the presentation of the works of God so that God would be glorified is the reason for this man's blindness. Could the same answer be true in our time too?
Aid is flowing in to the stricken area from many sources. Some of these are Christian organizations. I imagine there are many people in this area who are doing a lot of soul searching in southeastern Asia. Some have only heard negative things about Christianity, and some may have never heard the gospel at all. Bringing food for the hungry and medical supplies and doctors to treat the injured opens doors to people who would probably not be nearly as receptive to hearing about the love of Christ that brings the supplies and people to help them. Most of these people are helpless against what has happened to them. They have no way out.
... very much like we who were helpless against the power of sin and death, and now walk in the light of a new life because of the love of Christ.
I encourage you to give if you can in time or materially and to pray for the victims and the helpers that the will of God be done as the love His Son is demonstrated.
Grace & Peace,