November 12/13, 2022

Suffering Doesn’t Have to be Anybody’s Fault

Key Verse to Read and Treasure

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man of his parents, that he was born blind?” Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him—John 9:1-3 (NIV)

For Insight

The disciples asked a question concerning the blind man. They wanted to know who had done something wrong. Was it him or his parents? Who sinned that this man was born blind? Did his mother do something wrong when she was pregnant? Did she eat something harmful? Take drugs? Smoke? Drink? Did his father have some secret sin that the son was paying for? Was his affliction of blindness somebody’s fault? Did the man do something in the womb of his mother that caused him to be born blind? Inquiring minds wanted to know!

Have you ever had thoughts about someone who was suffering in way and thought to yourself how they must have caused their (own) suffering? We do it all the time, even if it’s only a passing thought that we don’t verbalize or allow ourselves to dwell on. The homeless person on the street corner begging for money. He or she must have done something to cause their plight. Drugs perhaps? The woman in an abusive relationship. She must have married the wrong guy, didn’t spend time in prayer with God before marrying? The man or woman with a disease we associate with lifestyle and life choices. Of course, they would get sick since they go against God’s commands…

We can have lots of thoughts about the reasons people suffer, the reasons we suffer also. What did we do wrong? Are we being punished by God? Are we not prayerful, trusting, enough? Somehow, we feel better, safer, more at peace if we can connect a cause to suffering.

To understand the why’s of suffering we would need to go back to the beginning of the Bible when Adam and Eve listened to the serpent, disobeyed God’s command, and chose their own path. That’s when the door was flung open, and suffering entered in. But suffering isn’t always about the working of evil, merely a condition of earthly life.

Just as Jesus told his disciples, it’s not about who sinned but Who gets the glory in and through our suffering. Suffering can have reasons and suffering can have no concrete, defined reasons that are clear to us. Suffering just is. When our goal in any suffering is to glorify God then the why’s and how’s no longer matter.   

Life Lesson

We may never have all the answers about suffering that we’d like to have. God is not obligated to share his reasons for arranging or allowing suffering into our lives, but we can keep in mind all suffering can be glorifying to God and fulfill his purposes in our life.


Jesus, the disciples asked a question we often ask—even if it’s only in our head, “What caused this suffering?” Your response then is the same to us today. Our only concern about suffering and affliction is that it glorifies you. Amen  

Digging Deeper    

Read John 9:1-7

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