And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
For those of you who’ve made it this far, thank you for still following along with this purpose series. If you’re just now reading, welcome! Please feel free to go back and read the posts following up to this one for a better overview.
We’ve been discussing living a for purpose life this week and just to recap, we’ve focused on what living a for purpose life means, our purpose as mankind, and our purpose as the church. Today, I want to discuss living for purpose when bad things happen.
When good things happen, we’re all for God. We believe that God is working in our lives and using us and loving us and blessing us. But when bad things happen we turn to the same God that loved us and blessed us and now believe He hates us and is cursing us and we did something wrong. His Word makes it very clear that it’s not His will that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9) and that He’s merciful and slow to anger (Ps. 103:8), so why is it that we still believe in this angry, wrathful God that seeks vengeance? Why do we still believe the lies from the enemy that if life is going wrong it’s either our fault or God’s fault?
Now God is the same God. He’s the same yesterday, today, and forevermore. The same God that wiped the wicked out in the Old Testament is the same God that will wipe the wicked out in the times to come. But you want to know the difference between us and them? Jesus Christ. He is the only one perfect enough to save you from God’s hand, and God created a new covenant through His perfection that if anyone believes in Him they would not perish but have everlasting life (Jn. 3:16).
Okay ‒ so, now that that’s out of the way ‒ why are bad things still happening? It’s for a purpose. The disciples still had some Old Testament believing going on in their heads and they thought that the reason this man was born blind was because either his parents’ sinned or he sinned. Jesus clarifies this by saying he was born this way so that God would be revealed in his life. On earth, stuff happens. Sickness is real, disease is real, mental illness is real, abuse is real, slavery is real, and all the other evils of this world are real because evil is in the world. There’s no doubt about it. But when evil becomes real in our lives we should recognize it as an opportunity for God to work in our lives. It’s a hard pill to swallow but it’s the truth. Think about this: if nothing was wrong with the world, there would be no need for a Savior, there would be no need for Heaven, and there would be no need for miracles or any of the promises that God has to offer. It would be just us and God like it was in the Garden of Eden. It would be the perfect scenario but that’s not our reality because sin and evil exists. And since it’s not our reality we must choose the lenses in which we see life.
We can view life through the lenses of Christ and view the works of evil as an opportunity for God to prove Himself once again (because He’s so faithful and awesome) or we could view life through the lenses of bitterness, hate, and anger and blame everything on ourselves, someone else, or God, the Creator of it all. I choose the latter, what do you choose? Bad things happen for a purpose and the purpose is so that the bad situation can be turned around for good (Rom. 8:28). The purpose is so that God can be glorified because He always does what He says He’ll do (Jn. 14:13). The purpose is that you would know the width and length and depth and height of God’s love for you and that no matter what evil comes your way nothing can separate you from His love (Eph. 3:18-19, Rom. 8:37-39)
So, what will you believe? Which lens will you look out of today? One of purpose or one of pain?