Jesus said, “Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him” (John 9:3). He said this in response to the disciples’ inquiry about whose sin had caused a man to be born blind. In the first book of the Prophet Samuel, when Samuel is in Bethlehem looking to see which of Jesse’s sons he is to anoint as king and successor to Saul, the Lord explains to Samuel, “Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the LORD looks into the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).
There is an expression, “Offer it up to the Lord.” I have often heard it spoken by well-meaning people suggesting one say, “Thank you Jesus!” in response to the hardship or difficulty another may be going through. As many times as I have heard it said, it has left me pondering what they really mean and how this statement is helpful or comforting to the person who has just been incapacitated or experienced loss in some way. It is wonderful to experience offering trials and tribulations up to the Lord for oneself, but I wonder if that sentiment is often lost when instructing another to do so.
It seems that at times much can be lost in translation or we can get caught up in trying to keep a sense of order and understanding. It is human nature to want to make sense of or to be able to explain or account for things beyond one’s control. After all, no one sets out to break a leg or get sick. When it happens though we ask, “Why?” Perhaps sometimes even getting stuck in the possibilities that may have been the cause.
At the heart of the matter, it can be tempting to spend lots of time searching to see how or why something happened as we move toward what we do have some control over. We always have a choice in how we respond to a situation and in what influences our response. As with many things, it is a process. However, no matter where one may be in that process, there are always invitations to receive the grace of God. Not only that, but also to let it shine.
You, LORD, are my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures you give me repose;
beside restful waters you lead me;
you refresh my soul.
You guide me in right paths
for your name’s sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
With your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in your house, LORD,
forever. (Psalm 23)