Daily Meditation: January 4, 2022

by Wicker Perlis on January 04, 2022

As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him.

- John 9:1-3

It is a cliché to say, “Everything happens for a reason.” It is also the cousin of a complicated, and much debated, theological question, “Does God put challenges in our lives for us to face?” There are many Christian answers which say yes, including “God gives his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers.” Conversely, many Christians have a hard time reconciling the idea of a loving, merciful and perfect God intentionally putting barriers in the way of His beloved people. Those second group of Christians will often point to sin as the root of worldly suffering, not some cosmic test to find out who can endure the worst things. I am no theologian, so I will not pretend to know the truth there.

However, I will say that this passage from John makes clear something which we all know, regardless of our education or training. It is a fundamental core of religions the world-over, from Christianity to Buddhism: all humans face suffering, adversity and pain in their lives. No matter what the cause of it is, most religions and belief systems recognize this as a basic universal truth. John writes of a man who has been blind since birth, a serious challenge to anyone. The disciples, like many modern Christians would no doubt do, ask Jesus to explain the cause of the man’s misfortune. Instead, Jesus focuses on what positive can come from blindness: the ability not just for the man to see for the first time, but also for the world to see the healing power of the God who is love.

As we enter this new year, there is a lot of conversation about the last two years. The general feeling of our society seems to be that 2020 and 2021 were moments of great suffering, adversity and pain. There is hope amongst some that 2022 may bring relief and peace. Others are jaded and worn down as the ball drops on another year of uncertainty. The reality is this, for each of us 2022 will have moments of great joy – where we share the love which we learn from God with others and feel that love as well. However, 2022 will also have plenty of moments which would fit in well with the last two years. When we face those difficult moments, let us take the example of Jesus and the blind man. Let us strive to ask ourselves, “How can I turn this around to glorify God?” or “What good can come out of this?” rather than “Why me?” or “Why us?”

Musical Reflection - Below My Feet - Mumford and Sons

When the song of the angels is stilled, When the star in the sky is gone, When the kings and princes are home, When the shepherds are back with their flocks, The work of Christmas begins: To FIND the lost, To HEAL the broken, To FEED the hungry, To RELEASE the prisoner, To REBUILD nations, To BRING PEACE among the people, To MAKE MUSIC in the heart. Amen.

- "The Work of Christmas" Howard Thurman