Lessons from the Coast
I regularly enjoy weekend trips to the Oregon Coast to slip away from the weekly routine and be refreshed in an often stunning landscape. Especially during the winter, the Oregon beaches are in constant change. With the seasonal “king tides” and constant storms, familiar beaches are often transformed into new and unique landscapes. I often question what were the forces that created those changes and the new beauty I observe.
Jesus’ disciples were constantly doing the same thing during His 3-year ministry. As they attempted to understand the Messiah and figure out the Kingdom of God, they questioned the causes behind their circumstances. One day as they were walking with Jesus and saw a man blind from birth, they asked “Who sinned that this man was born blind? Him or his parents?” (John 9)
Like many of us often do, they were asking the wrong question. The lens in which they viewed the situation was not through the knowledge of an eternal Creator but through their own limited constructs. They brought human assumptions which prevented them from understanding the will of God. In their attempt to understand the calamity that this man experienced, they only considered two possible causes.
Fortunately, Jesus was able to set them straight. He said, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him?” The disciples were asking if the answer to their question was “a” or “b”, while Jesus provided the truth of the matter with option “c”. The true reason was that God’s glory might be revealed.
In this season, there are calamities afflicting each of us. As disciples of Jesus we also ask “Why”, but often with assumptions that limit a correct Christian worldview. Blindness is certainly a significant hardship. Yet how might the disciples, much less the blind man, have experienced the situation if they understood how God actively works through challenging circumstances for His glory. How encouraging to know that the current hardships we face are filled with opportunity for God’s glory to be manifested through Jesus living through us!
We know that God is not the author of the sin that exists in this world. Everything that is broken is a result of the adversary, the devil, the deceiver of the whole world. But through the gospel God allows us to walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Just as Jesus’ disciples continued to grow in their understanding of the Kingdom of God, may we do the same. The next time you find yourself walking on an Oregon coast beach be reminded of the power of God to use all things for His glory!
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