Our Urgent Need - Spirit and Life, by Witness Lee


In John 9 is the case of a man blind from birth. The disciples had learned a certain amount of theology among the Jews. According to their theology they reckoned that if a man is born blind, there must have been someone who sinned. They asked the Lord, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?” (v. 2). Jesus answered, “Neither has this man sinned nor his parents, but that the works of God might be manifested in him” (v. 3). This case is a small one, but its principle is very great.

When we encounter a situation of blindness, we like to determine the reason for it. We consider whether it was due to our sin or due to others’ mistakes. Quite often we cannot find out whose mistake it was. We do not know whether it was due to ourselves, our parents, or our wife. We must realize that God is sovereign. God allowed a man to be born blind. This was not due to his parents’ sin or his own, but that God would use this blindness to show His mighty work. God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to come into the world. One needed to be born blind so that Christ might do something for him. If no one had been blind, there would have been no opportunity for the Lord Jesus to be manifested by healing such blindness. This was God’s sovereignty.

In John 4 the sinful and clever woman raised the question of worship to God. In chapter eight the scribes and Pharisees raised a question concerning the laws, the regulations, in their religion. Now in chapter nine the disciples raised a good question of theology. The question of who was at fault for the blindness of the man was a question of theology. However, theology is not adequate to answer this question.

Many things happen to us which are not so good. To our realization and analysis there is no reason for these things. However, these things did not happen spontaneously. They happened according to God’s sovereignty. Sometimes young people who get married repent of their decision after three days. Some have come to me saying they made a big mistake. They were told that they should be very careful in this matter, but they did not take the word of advice. Eventually, they repented. It is good that they repented, but what shall they do now? They have to suffer for the rest of their life. Some may ask in a theological way, “Whose mistake was this?” We cannot say whose mistake it was. Yet, there was a mistake. It seems that there was no cause for this mistake. However, deep within I have realized that the cause was the sovereignty of God. God is sovereign that you seem to have married the wrong person. In a certain sense, there are not many right marriages. After being married for a certain period of time, whose marriage is still so right? However, we have to admit that God is sovereign. Every marriage is under God’s sovereignty. It is neither your mistake nor your spouse’s. It is God’s sovereignty that you were married. By reading history and biographies we can learn that thousands of Christians received the greatest help through their marriage. No one can help you so much in seeking after God as your wife. Thank God for your dear wife. Many wives also would thank God for their husbands. Along with all the suffering they may have received from their husbands, there has been something so profitable for them; by no other means could they have been so benefited. Our marriage is not up to our choice. Regardless of how much we exercise in choosing our spouse, we may make a mistake. The more careful we would be, the more serious a mistake we might make.

Every parent wants to have good children. However, experienced parents do not dare to say that their children will be the best. In the matter of raising children, the experienced parents have been subdued. It is not up to us whether our children will be good or bad. That is altogether up to the sovereignty of God. If you have good children, you have to worship God. If you have some bad children, you have to worship God more because you will be much more benefited. We might prefer that our first child obtain a Ph.D., that the second be a medical doctor, and that the third be the state governor. We want a wonderful family with wonderful children. We would say, “Look at this. Isn’t this the blessing of God?” In actuality, however, our first child may have a very low IQ, the second one may be crippled, and the third one may be rebellious. Not one of them may be good. Quite often it happens this way. We believe in God’s sovereignty. Regardless of what kind of circumstance or situation we are in, it is sovereign of God that He might show His mercy upon us and give us more grace.

The man in John 9 was blind from birth apparently without cause. But this afforded Jesus Christ the best opportunity to manifest the works of God, to show that God can make a man who was blind from birth receive his sight. This was something of God for His glory. We should not talk about things according to our theology or knowledge, analyzing the cause. This will not work. We must admit that God’s sovereignty prevails. Whether you will get a better job or lose your current job is altogether up to God’s sovereignty. I do hope that many will have a pleasant church life, but only God knows whether or not our life will be pleasant. However, we can be assured that whatever turns out, we are under God’s sovereignty. God’s sovereignty always results in His kindness, grace, peace, and security to us. We all must learn not to analyze any situation according to “yes” or “no,” but according to the very sovereign God.

(Our Urgent Need - Spirit and Life, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)