What’s On Display in Your Life?

And as He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was in order that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
John 9:1-3

diamond-morguefile3981269626626The first thought I had as I read this passage was about the theology of the disciples. Just what would be implied by a man being born blind because of his own sin? But I’m not going to chase that rabbit today – I’ll leave you to ponder it on your own!

What I do want us to think about, though, is this: What is on display in your life and my life? Jesus said that this man was born blind so that the works of God might be displayed in him. What has happened in our lives that displays the works of God?

Many times, as we (or others we know) experience difficult things, we are drawn into speculation about the cause – is this somehow God’s judgment upon us? Are the forces of darkness assaulting us? Have we not prayed hard enough? Or had enough faith? Or…? Or…??

Sometimes, certainly, there is an obvious cause and effect relationship between sin and circumstance – the prostitute ends up with AIDS; the heavy smoker develops lung cancer; the gossip ends up friendless.

But sometimes, there is no apparent cause – a beautiful teenage girl living a godly life is killed by a drunken driver; a young mother develops an incurable disease; a hurricane season brings devastation to central Florida…

We cannot be sure of all the forces at work in trying (or even in pleasant) circumstances, but we can be sure of this one thing: God is sovereign, and works all things according to His good pleasure. Surely this man’s blindness was not a “good” thing, an easy thing, a pleasant thing. And yet it was a reality because it was a vehicle for the works of God to be displayed.

The word “displayed” translates a Greek word that means to show openly, to make manifest, to make conspicuous. If you trace the root backwards, you get the sense of “shining forth” and “giving light.” When a jeweler displays diamonds, he illuminates them on a black velvet cloth. Against the black background, their beauty and brilliance is clearly seen – much more than if they were set on a white or clear background.

In a similar way, I believe, when the world inspects us against the dark background of affliction in our lives, they should be seeing the brilliance and fire of God’s grace and mercy and love and sufficiency… Is that what is on display in your life?

I will give thanks to the Lord with all of my heart;
I will tell of all Thy wonders.
I will be glad and exult in Thee;
I will sing praise to Thy name, O Most High.
Psalm 9:1-2



What’s On Display in Your Life? — 10 Comments

  1. Susan Fleming, I love your devos. AGAIN, you have refreshed my spirit! I love the analogy of the diamond on the BLACK velvet. Who would have thought that something BLACK would cause ANYTHING to sparkle? Just like our BLACK experiences and trials. Yet, Christ IN us, working THROUGH us can bring that sparkle to shine on others and draw them to the Source. Thanks for always stretching my imagination with your breakdown of words! Bless you bunches for blessing us!

    • Pam, you are such an encouragement to me. I’m glad what I wrote spoke to your heart. Sometimes when I’m in a dark place, I really need to be reminded that it is just the backdrop for God’s glory.

  2. I love these words of Christ. They have helped us so many times, when people have asked what caused Brian to be born with a handicap.

    I recite this verse to them. Brian wonders sometimes why he is not “normal” He reads the Bible and we talk about this encounter with Jesus. Brian has touched so many lives, because of his disability and His obvious love of Jesus. He is bringing GLORY to God. Thank you, so much Susan.

    • Oh, Joyce, thank you for sharing that today. What an incredibly powerful testimony! I so appreciate your stopping by the blog and leaving a comment.

  3. Oh, Susan!! How timely is your pondering today!! I love that you draw us to change our focus about things that simply happen, things that just are. We know as believers that non-believers (and fellow believers as well) are watching us to see how we respond in the midst of challenging events that have no satisfying explanation. Placing us in the area of being on display brings great pause!! Sparkle is one of my favorite words. (The other is sprinkle.) Your blog invites me to see the word display and Christ’s words with much deeper meaning:) Thank you for that gift! Some day I’ll tell you my sparkle story:)

    • Thank you for your insight about who might be watching us. And in addition, there is a whole unseen universe watching to see if in this, this one very hard thing, if even in THIS, Christ will be sufficient and we will trust Him. Yes, we are on display in ways we cannot even imagine! Thank you for stopping by, Karen!

  4. G’mornin! I love you, Susan Fleming. May this morning be just amazing in your life. I also love your writings – such a gift. Thank you for the ecnouragement you bring right into our little guestroom (where our ocmputer lives).
    Not sure if I can alaways tell what’s on display in my own life, but I pray that more and more others can see that God is being more and more displayed in me. You have my invitation to check! With love, Jenni

    • I can assure you, Jenni, that Christ is on display in your life every day. Thank you for being such an encouragement to me!

Leave a comment: Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>