This happened so the works of God may be displayed in him. (John 9:3)
Remember the days of Leave It to Beaver, Father Knows Best, and The Donna Reed Show? I loved those shows—especially the beautiful Donna Reed.
While my mom looked a lot like Donna Reed, the resemblance didn’t go much further. As much as we loved her, my father, sister, and I lived in fear of provoking a reaction from my mom. As I grew older I learned that she suffered from clinical depression. It became our family’s secret.
This family crisis caused my dad to seek God in prayer and Bible study. He would often tell my sister and me, “Your mom is not well; she doesn’t mean what she says or does.” His amazing example of dependence on God during those years spoke volumes to us about how one receives true healing when life is full of pain.
I subsequently learned that our family wasn’t the only family with a secret. Even in the Bible there are plenty of dysfunctional families.
It can be hard to understand why God allows people to be born with debilitating problems. We always try to find a reason—like when Jesus’ disciples thought a man had been born blind because of either his sins or his parents’ (John 9:1-2). Jesus told them it wasn’t anyone’s fault. The man was blind “so that the work of God might be displayed in his life” (John 9:3). Jesus healed the man to demonstrate the glory of God.
Through treatments, and by the grace of God, my mother’s condition improved—she even gave her life to Christ. Sometimes I wonder if my dad would have grown as spiritually mature if my mother had not struggled. Would my sister and I have been exposed to as much prayer, patience, and service at a young age if my father hadn’t been such a godly servant to our family?
Our family secret changed over time—from having a mother and wife who was ill to discovering that God is our true source of healing: “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3). God’s works were definitely displayed in our home in a way that might not otherwise have been.
Heavenly Father, Help me to remember that no matter what the crises, no matter how much pain, and no matter how hopeless, Your goal is to always bring us closer to You. Amen.
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