In John 9:1-12 we read the account of Jesus healing a man born blind. The disciples asked a question of Jesus, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life..."
Truly amazing! Our nature as humans is to often think more "logically" or to see the dark side of those things which are imperfect, painful and ugly. It is hard to understand why God allows sufferings of such magnitudes in our lives. Right now, my little cousin is suffering with serious vision problems. She has tested at the legally blind level. And, of course, my brother, Michael, has been suffering for more than seven months with the realities of cancer, leg amputation, and horrible phantom pain.
We know that since sin entered the world in the Garden of Eden, everything is affected by sin and is cursed (Genesis 3:1-19). We know that all of creation is groaning as it awaits for redemption (Romans 8:19-22). Yet, we also know that God is in control of everything and could keep believers and innocent people from suffering. Yet, He chooses not to. This is so hard to understand. We really can't explain why some suffer and others do not. We must leave that in the hands of a sovereign and loving God who always does what is right. Hosea 14:9 tells us "...The ways of the Lord are right..."
So, we are left with placing our trust in God, no matter what. One of His purposes for allowing suffering is clear in the passage from John 9. He allows suffering at times so that His power and work may be displayed! In Isaiah 61:3, we see that God has provided for those who grieve an opportunity to be "for the display of His splendor." It seems this was the purpose for the blind man in John 9. It truly was an opportunity for God's splendor and work to be displayed as this fellow gave honor to Jesus for healing him.
While he may not see it so clearly, my brother Michael has certainly been a display of the splendor of God and a showcase for His work. So many have been blessed as they see Michael trusting in God, no matter what. What a challenge for all of us...allowing Him to show Himself in our lives through our pain and suffering...