“His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked,
‘Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?’”
John 9:8 (NIV)
I sat and watched the 60 year old woman as she struggled to eat her dessert. She was slowly losing her battle with the disease as it gradually caused a loss of muscle control.
Soon a nurse came along who was supervising the dining room in the facility. She said, “Sally you need your bib on so you don’t spill the food on your dress.” I cringed as I thought of a mature adult needing a bib. Bibs were what parents put on their infant as they ate their food. Being an adult in need of a bib seemed terribly wrong.
I sadly watched the staff member gently tie the bib on my friend and I thought this was no place for dignity when life served up such a frustrating alternative. Sometimes life presents a person with this difficult challenge. We all know of someone who suffered as my friend does. I sensed that she could not wait to go and be with the Saviour who would release her from her physical prison and she would then run and dance for joy.
The man in our story—John 9:1-8—had been born blind. As an adult he had to beg for his daily bread. How does a person beg in a dignified manner? I have no answer for that. What I do know is that through the work of Christ he was liberated from his dark prison and enjoyed the physical sight Jesus gave him.
You may have had some situation rob you of your dignity. Perhaps it was being deserted by your marriage partner, or having a physical problem that leaves you dependant on others. Whatever the issue, I urge you to look to Jesus to give you the grace to endure the embarrassment of your limitation.
This man gave glory to God in spite of his difficulty. He attended the house of God on the Sabbath—a day when he was forbidden to beg. Obviously he was there to worship and praise God in spite of his problem. You too should attend the church of your choice and see others with serious issues praising God and singing His praise.
As you live humbly with your limitation, you show submission to the Lord’s sovereign will. Perhaps in this life after glorifying God for years—as the blind man did—you may have a time when the burden is lifted and you find relief from the difficulty.
Then again, you may hear the voice of the Lord telling you what Paul learned regarding his physical problem. 2 Corinthians 12:8-9 (NIV)
“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.
But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you,
for my power is made perfect in weakness.’
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses,
so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”