Let’s think for a minute what it did for that poor blind man when the disciples began theological debate over his blindness.
“So, they say you were born blind? Well, let get out our Bibles and see if we can find some theological reason for your blindness. It has to be because of sin. But since you were born blind, perhaps it’s not your sin that is to blame but the sins of your parents.” Yes, I’m sure all of that blaming did a whole lot for that poor man!
But how often have we’ve been guilty of doing the same. For some reason, because we are Christian, we believe it is our holy responsibility to try to explain human suffering and misery in light of our faith in God.
Since Hurricane Harvey flooded Texas, I have heard people blame the Mayor Sylvester Turner, climate change, the lack of zoning regulations, Donald Trump, the recent solar eclipse and even same-sex marriage. I am sure there will more blame associated with Hurricane Irma in the coming days.
In the face of human pain and suffering, there are two predominate responses by the church.
The first one is that God has a reason for it. God is sitting at the command center in complete control of every earthly thing that happens.
The other point of view is one of silence, just silence.
I find both of these responses troubling. Those who believe God has some kind of divine purpose for every evil thing that happens in this world paint a very mean portrait of God. And those who respond with silence make God out to seem detached and uncaring.
However, I believe the life, suffering and death of Christ teach us that when the rains poured down, so flowed the very tears of God. When the waters overflowed the banks of the bayous, so broke the very heart of God. When lives were suddenly drowned out, so emptied the very self of God. God was not causing the evil. Neither was God silent.
This is where I believe the story of the man born blind can be helpful. When Jesus is questioned about the man’s suffering by his disciples, Jesus doesn’t answer their questions, but neither is he silent. Jesus responds that this is the time, not to assign blame or responsibility, but rather, to bend to the ground and get his hands dirty, so that the glory of God might be revealed.
In the wake of the many storms in our world, may we do the same.