One day the disciples of Jesus saw a blind man and asked the Lord a question: “Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?” (Joh.9:2). In answering he talked about light: “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world” (v.5). Why did the Lord talk about light when the disciples only asked about blindness? Well, it was for the simple reason that sight actually depends on light!
One can have a perfectly healthy eye but in the absence of light he won’t be able to see. To be able to see an object, light has to fall on it and then get reflected into the eye. Inside the ball of the eye, on the Retina, are cells which receive the image of the object. The image is formed by patterns of reflected light. So, an object can be right in front of you but if light doesn’t fall on it you won’t be able to see it! That is why no matter how close an object can be to your face, if there is completely no light you won’t be able to see it. However, note again that you can be in a place with enough light but if there is nothing in you to receive the light, you won’t be able to see. Being able to see is thus dependent on two things – the light falling on what you have to see and having a place in you to receive the light.
As in the natural so it is in the spirit. We come into this world enclothed in a body of flesh. The body helps us to relate with the physical world through its five senses – sight, touch, smell, taste, and hearing. But there is a consciousness within us that makes us aware of another reality which lies beyond the physical world. Some people have had glances into that spiritual world through visions or trances. But for most of the time, and for most of us, with our spirits trapped in matter, our experience of the world is similar to that of a prisoner who is locked up in a jail cell and whose perception of the external environment is only through a tiny window. This makes us strangers in our own world!
Try walking around with your eyes firmly closed. You will realize that fear, rather than sadness, will be your dominant feeling. You will soon become a stranger even in a place that you are already familiar with. You will suddenly wonder whether you are about to hit on a wall or trip and fall. Well did the Psalmist pray saying, “Open thou mine eyes…I am a stranger in the earth: hide not thy commandments from me” because in the Hebrew text the word for “stranger” is gare, derived from goor which means “fear” or “afraid”! (Psa.119:18-19).
Now ours is a world of foolish strangers! I once narrated this story to our church congregation:
Captured onto an aircraft you have been taken to an unknown destination. After a long flight you are dropped on a foreign land. You pull off the hood and notice different people busy doing different activities. Some are in suits and walking with briefcases into some corporate building. You see others playing football by a pitch. And a good number of others are in restaurants eating food. Which activity would you join?
“Football” answered one young man. I straightway told him that his answer was foolish: “Of all things is that what you could do? Wouldn’t it be wise for you to first ask Why you are in that place?” Sadly, the same foolishness characterizes much of our society. We found ourselves in this big busy world. More babies are getting born everyday and grow up into this frenzy. Many people cannot pause and ask themselves this simple (but yet very important) question: Why am I here?
Like a man who buys a pen and diary from a stationary shop and immediately begins to write his stories in it, human beings find themselves equipped with the ink of life and are writing their stories on the pages of time. But if anyone dares to look closely, it’s not a stationary shop we are in but an examination room! In this examination room of the world we didn’t buy the book we are writing in; it was handed down to us. And although one may feel free to write what they wish, it is important to know that the book comes with a question paper that must be answered. Ignoring the pertinent questions in the paper is doing so at your own peril! Like in all academic examinations of this world, answers to the questions of life are not determined at our time of answering them but were already determined before we received the paper! Blessed are those who receive the mind and counsel of God because their lives write a story which was already established in the Book of Life. They know the foolishness of writing your own story when neither the ink nor the pages of time are yours. In this the Lord Jesus was the perfect example – “when Christ came into the world, he said, ‘Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. Then I said, Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’” (Heb.10:5-7, ESV).
Anyone who does not know the will of God is blind. He or she is full of anxiety and fear. He or she is writing a life-story with closed eyes and is groping in the dark! Such a person has reduced the purpose of life to the pursuit of food, career, and pleasure. His or her life is “a vapour that appeareth for a little time, and then vanish away” (Jam.4:14). But the wise “ought to say, ‘If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this or that’” (Jam.4:15). Yes, as a believer in the will of God you have rest and should not give place to fear. The scripture admonishes you to “not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phi.4:6-7, ESV).
Is there hope for the blind?
The blind can see when the power of God quickens them to receive the Light. When a child of God is quickened by the Spirit of God they are born again. This spiritual birth process has something that happens which is similar to what occurs in the natural process: scientists have observed a flash of light that sparks when a sperm meets an egg and conception occurs! Surely, there is a light of life that flashes in our souls when we get born-again. That is “the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (Joh.1:9).
Now, the light of God that reflects into the soul of a person can never come from a creed or a motivational talk! God’s light can only fall upon his Word to be reflected into a man’s soul (Psa.119:19). The revealed Word of God is full of life and it is that life that can give true knowledge to mankind in this dark world – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… In him was life; and the life was the light of men” (Joh.1:1, 4).