I Am Whom God Made Me to Be
By Deb Crowley of Eaton Rapids, MI, USA
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. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. —John 9:2–4 NRSV
The Gospel of John tells the story of Jesus’ encounter with a man who was blind from birth. His disciples wanted to know why. Jesus then healed the man and the story continues to unfold. The religious law keepers, watching his every move, questioned the authority of Jesus to heal.
I remember the birth of our second child. Ben arrived at 3:00 a.m. on his dad’s birthday. When the doctor tried to put eye drops in his left eye, the lid did not open. Immediate x-rays revealed the eyeball had not fully developed, and Ben would be blind in that eye.
Of course, we asked, “Why?” Did I do anything during my pregnancy that would have caused this? Did I expose my unborn child to a chemical or fail to watch my diet carefully enough? We began a journey of discovery that took us to an ocular specialist in Ann Arbor who created spacers and eventually a glass eye that would keep Ben’s bone structure growing correctly.
When asked, the doctor shared there was no known reason this might occur in an embryo. There were no common threads that led to this condition. We never for a moment believed God afflicted our child with a malady because of our sin. Instead, we pondered what God could do with this in Ben’s life.
Ben, now a young adult, recently traveled to Jamaica on a mission trip to build cement blocks for an orphanage. One evening, the team met the children who would eventually live in the orphanage. A little girl noticed Ben’s eye and asked what happened. He explained he was born that way and had a “fake” eye. She asked, “Why didn’t God heal you?”
Ben thought for a moment and replied, “God didn’t need to. I am whom God made me to be, and my eye is simply part of who I am.” The next day, the girl reported that all the children had prayed for God to heal his eye. Ben, however, has already experienced what God can do with an imperfect physical body— and it is good.
Jesus showed that blindness is not always physical. We are blind when we fail to love as God loves. We have compassion as God has compassion, and extend grace as God extends grace to our companion human beings. On our Lenten journey, may we overcome our blindness and open ourselves to what God can do!
Prayer for Peace
Creator, thank you for all you have made us to be. May we not linger on what we cannot do, but what we can do with the presence of your Spirit.
Spiritual Practice: Teacher–learner
The first disciples of Jesus followed to hear his teaching, to learn a new way of living, and to practice what they learned in daily life. Prayerfully consider your role as a teacher–learner, disciple–apprentice—a people cultivator in Community of Christ. In your journal, write the names of several people you discern as teachers or mentors and several you feel called to nurture and encourage in specific ways. Ask for God’s blessing on you and your congregation as a community of learners.
Today, God, I will use the gifts you have given me to promote peace.