Read John 9:1-3
1 As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. 2 “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?”
3 “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him. (NLT)
When something in life goes terribly wrong we are tempted to look for some explanation. This is what the disciples were doing in this episode. It is what Job’s friends were doing as they came alongside Job. We want to hold someone responsible. In this case, the blindness must be due to sin; the only question is whose sin it might have been.
Jesus rebukes such simplistic explanations. He really gives no explanation at all but rather focusses on the fact that even this terrible blindness can be used by God to achieve his good purposes.
It is here we need to understand the concept of God’s sovereignty. God does not cause all that happens. We can’t blame God for tragedies: he is not the source of evil. Many things happen in this world that are contrary to God’s will. Not even God gets his own way in his own world. That is why we pray that his will be done on earth as in heaven: we know that this is not yet a reality. God does not will hunger or violence or injustice.
While it is true that we can bring tragedy on ourselves, this is not always the case. Sickening things happen to godly people. We don’t blame them. We do not see God as some malevolent figure pulling strings behind the scenes ‘sending’ suffering on people to attain some eventual good.
In the end, some things are beyond explanation. In the end, we accept mystery. In the end we trust that God knows what he is doing even if we do not.