Disability To Possibility
Have you ever thought that you just might be asking the wrong question? Not, “Do I want fries with that?” Or “Do my blue shoes or white shoes look better with this dress?” But “Why did I get cancer?” Or “Why did my parents get a divorce?” Questions around deep, profound pain, suffering and sorrow.
Not that it’s bad to ask such questions. And not that every human being who faces adversity, struggles and trials, doesn’t ask such questions. But these questions have no answer. Or at least no definitive answer that will bring you what you are truly looking for in the asking. And that is peace and a way forward.
Peace and a way forward, that is why we all want to know why. We want to be able to understand, to explain, so that we can fit everything neatly into tidy little boxes in our reality. We want to avoid the “I don’t know” at all cost. Afterall, who has ever found peace and a way forward in the “I don’t know”?
This is our natural way. The way of the world. But even if you did know, without a shadow of a doubt, that it was your smoking habit that caused your cancer. Or that your father was a physically and mentally abusive narcissist. Would that information really give you what you’re truly looking for – peace and a way forward?
No. For all that information will do is present you with a truth that you must now live in and through. You will still have to decide how you are going to live, now that you know this truth. So, why don’t you simply skip the “Why?” question? Move directly to answering the more important question of “How am I going to live?”
Peace isn’t found in knowing the truth. Peace is found in the life you live, in response to knowing the truth. Yet, peace can also be found even if you never know the reason why that truth is in your life. Your peace isn’t found in knowing why you have cancer or knowing why your parents got a divorce. Your peace is found in living your life, in spite of that truth.
There’s a story, in John chapter 9, where Jesus and the disciples came upon a man begging on the side of the road who was born blind. The disciples asked Jesus the worldly question: “Why was this man born blind? Was it his sin or the sin of his parents?” They were looking for peace and a way forward. For they had pity for this man who had to live his life blind and begging for money on the side of the road. Their intentions were good, but their perspective was wrong.
Jesus, who took advantage of every situation as a teaching moment, informed the disciples that they were asking the wrong question. He instructed them that the question that they needed to be asking was, “What will God do with this man’s blindness?” This was the only question that would lead to peace and a way forward.
The man was blind. That was the only truth that mattered. It didn’t matter why he was blind. There was no need to assign blame, cast shame or name the cause. For that was all in the past. The more productive thing to do was to be present, in that moment, and to see what God was going to do through this man’s blindness.
This simple change in perspective moved the disciples from seeing this man as a tragedy, needing to be explained. To a celebration of the power of God working in spite of any limitations, suffering and pain that any of us face. Jesus changed the disciple’s perspective, let alone the man’s perspective, from disability to possibility.
This move from disability to possibility was not only the way for this blind man to find peace and a way forward. It was the only way for the disciples to find peace and a way forward. And, dare I say, it’s also the only way that you will ever find peace and a way forward.
Let us all move away from asking, “Why has this happened?” And let us all move toward “What will God do with what has happened?” Let us get good at living in the “I don’t know”. May our perspectives be changed from disability to possibility.