[This post continues the lines of thinking begun with blogpost #1000.¹ John 9 has long been a favorite chapter; it is a chapter of deep impact, highlighting Jesus in an eminently compelling way.]
Moving away from exegesis of John, I thought it would be good to share, for better or worse, some “personal application” musings. For me, this material comes from the text, but in a less direct way. I believe it is best to defer making these kinds of observations until some reasonable level of strictly text-based understanding is reached. I’m not at all sure that I’ve arrived at a strong enough exegetical point to share personal application publicly, but I’m doing it, anyway — in order to challenge my own status quo (and maybe yours, too, serendipitously)….
Like the Jews of John 9, I wonder how often I have responded unwisely or inappropriately because of perceived threats to my preferences or my sense of well-being?
In my work life, I’m convinced it’s been way too often. My professional emphases and preferences and “missions,” together with personal insecurities and hurts, have at times sent me scurrying into protective foxholes while I verbally “re-load.” (I have no clue if that’s an accurate military image, but it seems to describe how I’ve operated at times.) When I feel threatened, I ought to pray more, trust and observe a lot more, and defend/fight less.
I move more deeply into my personal sphere, and fear creeps in. I ask, “What work of God have I rejected because of my personal agendas and biases? Where have I been resistant to God? When I have begun to see new truth, have I retreated, turtle-like? The answers, while cloudy, are troubling.
I wonder whether some preconceptions have kept me in comfortable surroundings, whereas God might have been working just outside said surroundings. (This is just what the Jews of John 9 were found doing.) Has my closed mind hindered spiritual growth and/or service to others?
In personal doubt, worry, or pain, one can easily be diverted into human processes that obscure God. Sometimes, I feel very little certainty of what is of God and what is not. (More of the good stuff has surely been His.) Yet I depend on planning-by-computer and accounting records and human communication . . . I should probably simply back off more and try to perceive the hand of God.
In my first post on John 9, I asked the somewhat exegetical, but also introspective, questions below:
- What do “the Jews” and the Pharisees think of Father God in this story? How do they “use” Him? (vv. 16, 24, 29)
- What does the blind man think of Him? (9:31, 33)
- What could be made out of the fact that Jesus only mentions God early in the story but not later?
And I might apply some of that to myself now. What do I think of Father God, and how can I discern what I really think of Him? Have I relegated Him, ancient-Jews-like, to history, or is He a living, active force likely to astound?
If I were blind and then given my sight by God, would my thoughts of the Father be radically altered right away? Would I give Him praise and honor? What about now, in the 21st century? How do I experience and respond to the less miraculous, less obvious, but equally God-originated events in my life? The “little stuff” is more problematic than the major events, I suspect.
Next in the series . . . exegetical thoughts on John 11.
¹ Incidentally, I now feel rested from blogging, after a long break, and am getting back into it, in full swing!