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Kim Andrich explores how God’s glory, revealed in the suffering of the man born blind, can be revealed in our own struggles and those of our families. 

In this coming Sunday’s Gospel, John tells us of Jesus’ healing of a man who had been blind since birth. We know very little about this man, but we can be assured that he had suffered in a way that had impacted every aspect of his life. And why? Why did God allow him to suffer? Why does He allow difficulties and hardships? Jesus gives one critical answer that is good for us to hear in any difficult situation we encounter. The man was born blind:

“That the works of God might be made manifest in him." (John 9:3, RSV-CE) 


In other words, the purpose of his blindness was that God's glory may be revealed through it. One way that God's glory was revealed was quite obvious in this case: the man was healed! He could see! Jesus had performed a miracle, and God's glory had been revealed in the miracle. Yet, frequently, Jesus would ask that the person healed tell no one about the healing or about Himself, and it is very possible that Jesus had requested the same from this man. A public awareness and acknowledgement of a miracle was not the glory Jesus had meant. 
The revelation Jesus referred to was something deeper. It is both clearly and symbolically shown in this man’s receiving his sight. Jesus, in many places, equates blindness with ignorance of the ways of God and sight with an understanding given by God and a spiritual encounter with Him, seeing the world and life in light of it. Jesus says here again,

"I am the light of the world." (John 9:5)


He is the One who gives light and therefore, spiritually, who gives sight. 

After the man had been driven out of the Temple, Jesus found him and asked him if he believed in the Son of Man. The man who had been blind asked Jesus, "Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?" I love Jesus' answer: "You have seen him..." The man immediately worshiped Jesus, having recognized Him (John 9:35-38).  

You have seen Him. Obviously, this man was then seeing Jesus with the very eyes that Jesus had opened, but to also understand that Jesus was not only a prophet and a healer but was God required eyes of faith. 
It is likely that the blindness this man had experienced had prepared him to recognize God. This trial and disability that had caused great difficulty for this man throughout his life had also prepared him to recognize the works of the Lord, not only within this healing but also as a revelation of God's glory and of His presence. It had readied his heart to worship. 



Twelve years ago, I developed constant, severe anxiety and insomnia, and claustrophobia and hallucinations. I begged God to heal me, to take it all away. Fixing the problem would have revealed God's power, but what He did instead revealed His glory in a deeper and more profound way. What He did instead opened my spiritual eyes and changed me. 
Over the course of that time, I suffered, turned to God, and encountered Him. Something changed during that first year of this chronic, suffocating anxiety and insomnia. It was neither quick nor dramatic but took place during the day-in and day-out moving through the suffering and living my life while learning to lean on God. 

This suffering affected every single aspect of my life, but I was powerless to do anything about it. My husband and children suffered also as I felt myself falling apart, and I was at a loss as to how to support them as I struggled to face each day. It was within those moments where what had been an inconsistent turning to God became a reliance on Him. His presence with me, through the cross, was my only hope. His strength was the only strength I had. In those moments, my spiritual eyes were opened, and I began to really see God, to know Him, not just know of Him. 

God has continued to build on this in my role as a mother. How often we parents feel helpless to give our kids what they need! How often there is an issue that is bigger than we can handle! There are so many trials within parenthood—both personal trials as we are trying to care for our children and trials that directly involve our children. So often, like the blind man who was relegated to sitting outside the Temple and begging for his needs to be satisfied, we are powerless to do anything about these problems. The best thing we can do is to turn to God and to allow Him space to take care of our families and of us. 


Click to tweet:
The best thing we can do is to turn to God and to allow Him space to take care of our families and of us. #CatholicMom

The works of the Lord are made manifest within our parenting journey when we turn to God and see Him with spiritual eyes, ready to see what He desires to reveal to us and ready to respond to Him. Sometimes it is in the midst of the difficulty that we begin to see God. Sometimes it is when the difficulty has passed that we are able to open our eyes and see the transformation He has produced within us or within our family in our leaning on Him through the struggle. 

Like the blind man, our turning to God in our suffering helps us to learn to recognize God and to see Him with eyes of faith so that, each time we encounter Him, we know Him, and our hearts are lifted to His. 



Copyright 2023 Kim Andrich
Images: (top, bottom) Duccio di Buoninsegna, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons; (center) Canva