Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” John 9:3
I read this passage about Jesus and a man blind from birth, and I wonder how many times, in the quiet recesses of the night, had this blind man prayed for healing? As he grew up friendless, not getting to do the things other children got to do, when, as an adult, he couldn’t get work and had to sit in the dirt and beg, I wonder how many times he had called out to God?
Then each morning, he’d wake up in utter darkness.
And I wonder if he grew discouraged—if each time he asked God for healing and woke without sight, if he questioned the existence of an Almighty Hand?
I wonder because I do this too. I pray for healing in my life—healing of my finances and body. I pray for the healing of others, too. I pray for all the things that will make my life and the lives of those around me “better” and sometimes when my prayers are not answered, I shake my head, disappointed at a God that doesn’t care about my “good.”
It is shameful to admit such a thing, but it is true. And I think it is probably true for most of us: We pray to be rid of all life’s little troubles rather than praying to get through, by God’s grace, life’s turmoil.
I think of the ways I’ve grown in my life—the situations that have come into my path to cause me to change and to care and to love—and the truth is that I tried to pray away most of the things that have caused said change. The very pain that has made me yearn for God, for grace, for truth, well, if it were up to me, God would have taken away all of the pain at the onset—and, by default, the growth would vanish with it.
Truly, though, God is sovereign. He is in control of every situation, and often He would prefer me to go through something rather than simply taking me out of something. He would rather see me change and grow and know Him than be comfortable and happy and safe.
I still pray for healing and protection and favor, and I probably always will. But I’m also trying to add the request of perseverance to my prayers—that if healing or protection or favor is not God’s perfect will for my good and His fame, that He would give me the strength to endure. In this prayer, I’ve yet to see a “no” rain down from Heaven.
Maybe healing will come to those in my prayers, but, even more importantly, healing or not, may the works of God be displayed.