Blindness: A Gift?

Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.    John 9:3


Gift of Blindness
Photography by Ed Hansberry

Don’t know his age, but he was a man blind from birth. Perhaps it was just a condition that he’d learned to live with because it was all he knew. I wonder if he felt inferior? Insignificant? Angry? Cursed? I doubt he considered his blindness a gift.

One day, Jesus came to this blind man’s town. The disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

These words almost jumped off the page at me. What a revelation! I’d read this story before from the perspective of a miracle. But I never saw that God created a baby without sight so that as a man his restoration of sight would be the deliberate avenue to glorify God Himself. That’s a gift!

Jesus then made a mud patty from His spit and some dirt, applied it to the blind man’s eyes, and told him to go wash in the pool of Siloam. Imagine the excitement he must have felt after washing the mud away from his eyes and, for the first time in his life, seeing his new world. Can’t you see him sprinting back to town to share the miracle with the townspeople?

Back in town, he was immediately escorted to the Pharisees whose focus was not on this beautiful miracle given to a blind man. Instead, they plotted to discredit Jesus and convict Him of a crime.

The once-blind man repeatedly answered the Pharisees’ tedious questions. “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?” Can’t you hear the hearty belly laughter from the healed man as he mocks the Pharisees?

He further testified, “Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. If this were not from God, he could do nothing.” The Pharisees cast him out of the synagogue. Was the now-sighted man feeling reassurance in his gift, or was the ugly head of rejection rising?

I love that at the apex of societal rejection his gift of blindness opened the door to significance. Upon hearing the man was cast out, Jesus found him and bolstered his faith. Jesus taught about spiritual blindness giving the man a purpose. He gave value and a future mission to the man’s life.


In my early years, questions about my value filled my mind. Retreating into hopelessness, insignificance, and fear, I wondered what God was thinking when He created me. Surely I have something of value to offer someone, I hoped.

For many years, hope was deferred. I listened to, and embraced, the enemy’s lies. I reasoned: I’m not important because… I’ve not won awards. I’ve not delivered life-changing speeches to millions of people. I’ve not discovered the cure to a great illness. I’ve done nothing of significance. I blindly looked at what the world values instead of looking for my gift that would bring glory to God.


Then, Jesus found me. He washed my blind eyes. He refocused my eyes and showed me the accomplishments that had brought Him glory.  The painful experiences, that I’d perceived as harmful, were actually my pre-ordained gifts from God. Discovering these gifts transformed me forever.

Like the blind man told of in John 9, I had to be trained by difficult discipline in order to bring glory to God. Today, with new vision, I recall His words to me, “When you were cast out, I found you. I healed you so that you will be My tool to help others. You are significant to me. My works will be displayed in you.”

What other God-given gifts feel like a disability or trial? How will God use them to bring Him glory somehow? Yesterday’s blindness is now a gift of sight, forever.