We human beings inevitably look for someone to blame when we encounter difficult or undesirable things. You see it already in young children. “He did it!” “No, SHE did it!” Of course, most of us don’t like to get into trouble. So, we look for a scapegoat. Jesus’ disciples had grown up in a culture that knew all about scapegoating. Every Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, an actual goat was sent into the wilderness, symbolically carrying the sins of the people.
So when the disciples come upon a well-known beggar, blind from birth, they can’t help themselves. They have to ask whose fault it was. Jesus dismisses the blame question. Instead, he calls them to find meaning in this man’s suffering. Jesus suggests that this man’s blindness was about the opportunity for all of them to experience a miracle of God. In that moment, God was going to reveal something of himself through the healing of this man’s condition.
Suffering in this life is inevitable. We all experience things that are disappointing or devastating. One of the ways we remain alive to hope despite our pain is to find meaning in the midst of it. Searching for meaning doesn’t always result in answered questions. But perhaps we will realize that our suffering has drawn us closer to God. Perhaps we will realize our own pride and self-sufficiency. Perhaps we will learn to trust others to help us. Perhaps we will learn to pray more deeply. And perhaps we will experience the miracle of God’s deliverance.
Have you found yourself blaming others? Reflect on how you can release the blame to refocus on finding meaning in your struggles today.
As Jesus cultivated connection to the Father’s heart, so teach me to be alert to all that you want to show me. Where I tend to place blame, help me to discern your purposes, to make meaning of my difficulties through experiencing your presence.
Because of Jesus – Amen.