2 And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
3 Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. John 9:2,3 (NKJV)
“Aching Bones and Ugly Shoes”
By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”
I was born with a rare genetic condition that caused me to have multiple ailments and birth defects. Most of the time throughout my life, I’ve been in varying degrees of constant physical pain. My most noticeable deformity is my right foot and leg—the foot has only two toes on it and is about half the size of my left foot, and the leg is an inch-and-a-half shorter than my left leg.
As a child I wore two different sized shoes, and my right shoe was built up to make up the difference in limb length. Growing up, I had my share of ugly orthopedic shoes. Now, as an adult, I have a prosthetic foot that fits inside my regular-sized shoe.
When you’re growing up with a handicap, other children can be cruel. I was blessed with parents who taught me how to meet the world head-on when it comes to things like this. I’ll never forget as a pre-schooler coming into the house crying because the neighborhood kids were teasing me because I only had two toes. My mother said, “Oh, those kids don’t know anything. Go outside and tell them you’re the lucky one! Tell them that it doesn’t take you as long to take a bath at night because you don’t have as many toes to wash between!”
So I did.
But the thing that I’m most thankful for in this situation is that both my parents brought me up in the admonition of the Lord, with a Christian world view. Whenever I was fretful about my difficulties, my parents would always say, “John, that’s just how the Lord made you.”
Now, here’s the amazing thing. When my parents said that, and when I heard it, we were all on the same page. This was just the way God had made me. And we weren’t mad at Him. And we all loved Him. And we trusted Him whole-heartedly. We understood that the world belonged to God because He made it. He had a plan for all eternity. He allowed things that we didn’t understand to happen, and even if we didn’t understand them, He was still God. And God loved us, and we loved Him.
I don’t think as many people now have the Christian worldview that my parents gave me. We’re really among the first generations of people to shake our fists at God about all the small things that don’t suit us.
Up until the 20th century, people accepted suffering and death as a natural part of life in this fallen world. Keep in mind that, at that time, most families had a child that didn’t survive into adulthood. Now that the Lord has blessed us all with so many gifts and with such comfortable lives, we don’t know how to handle it when every little detail doesn’t go according to OUR plans.
I’m so glad my parents raised me with the outlook I have because it’s the worldview that Jesus taught. In today’s Scripture lesson (at the top) the disciples of Jesus met a man who was born blind. They asked the Lord why God had made this happen; had this man sinned, or was he born this way because of the sins of his parents? Jesus answered that neither the man nor his parents had sinned, but that this blindness had happened so that the glory of God could be shown in the man’s life.
The creed of this age in which we now live is, “It’s all about me.” But Jesus challenges that idea as we step out to follow Him. Life isn’t ALL about us. Sure, our concerns figure into the picture—but life is also about caring for others, and about bringing glory and honor to God. After all, He is our Creator, and without Him we would never have had the gift of life. He is our Redeemer, and without Him we would have never had a single moment of joy.
Dear mamas, as you go through this week, thank God for blessing you. Teach your babies to view this world the way our Heavenly Father sees it. Ask Him to show you how you can use your troubles and burdens to bring glory to Him.
Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad” (Sing that to the title to the tune of “Secret Agent Man) He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and is in the middle of his 25th year of being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. He and his lovely wife, Susan, and his sons, Spencer (age 21) and Seth (age 18) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the Lord has blessed the Preacher there with better health the older he has gotten.) He would love to hear from you in an email sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.