Spiritual blindness: Failure to perceive God’s glory
Even after witnessing this great miracle of calming the sea, the disciples of Jesus remained spiritually blind. Because, they were asking themselves, ‘Who is this man? Even the wind and the waves obey him! “
By K. L. Joseph
Spiritual Blindness is a condition in which a person fails to perceive God’s glory and his great powers. Spiritual blindness is inherent almost in every person but in varying degrees. This is because of one’s fluctuating faith in God. Our life itself is a gift from God. Human nature as it is, that when we are raised to prosperity, wealth or fame, we have a tendency to attribute these fortunes to our own ability and achievement which makes us forget God and his merciful benevolence. On the contrary, when we encounter miseries or problems in life, we lament and blame God for the same and even stay away from believing in His existence. This condition is called spiritual blindness.
In order to get rid of spiritual blindness, we have to draw inspiration from the Book of Job. Job was extremely faithful to God. He always worshiped God and was careful not to do anything evil. God himself testified Job’s unflinching faith towards him before Satan. When Job lost everything he had, including all his children and property and was finally afflicted with a repulsive disease by Satan while testing his faith in God, still he did not blame God. He then said, “The Lord gave, and now he has taken away. May his name be praised “.
By seeing the pitiable condition of Job, his wife said to him, “You are still as faithful as ever, aren’t you? Why don’t you curse God and die?” (Job 2. 9). Job answered, “You are talking nonsense! When God sends us something good, we welcome it. How can we complain when he sends us trouble?”.
Chapter 9. 1-41 of the gospel of St. John cites the case of a man born blind. This man was given sight by Jesus by making a paste of mud in his spittle and rubbing it on the blind-man’s eyes. Then Jesus said to the man, “Go and wash your face in the Pool of Siloam. The man did as he was told and his blindness was at once cured and he could see “. But he had no idea who his benefactor was. Here, the man born blind did not plead Jesus to give him sight nor anyone approached Jesus on his behalf seeking help for him as in other miracles. As Jesus being the light of the world, he himself came forward to give him light ( sight ) by seeing his pitiable condition so that he will stop walking in darkness.
Strangely, even after getting sight, the man was still in a state of spiritual blindness as he failed to perceive God’s power that had worked in him. This miracle performed by Jesus on the man born blind sparked off a heated debate among the Pharisees and they investigated the causes of healing. Even after the man mentioned the name of Jesus who was said to be responsible for his sight, still the Pharisees were not mentally prepared to accept the truth. Some of the Pharisees said, “ The man who did this cannot be from God, for he does not obey the Sabbath Law.” (John 9.16). Thus, the Pharisees too were suffering from spiritual blindness for they failed to know Jesus and his divine powers even after they had witnessed number of miracles being performed by him.
The disciples of Jesus also suffered from spiritual blindness. On many occasions, they had no faith in Jesus and in his great miraculous powers. When Jesus and his disciples were crossing to the other side of a lake in a boat suddenly a strong wind blew up, and the waves began to spill over into the boat with the imminent danger of the boat being capsized.
Jesus was sleeping in the boat at that time. The disciples woke Jesus up and said, “Teacher, don’t you care that we are about to die?” Immediately Jesus commanded the wind, “Be quite!” The wind died down and there was great calm. He also stilled the violent waves by his command. Even after witnessing this great miracle, the disciples of Jesus remained spiritually blind. Because, they were asking themselves, ‘Who is this man? Even the wind and the waves obey him! “(Mark 4. 35-41).
The Book of Exodus in the Old Testament brings out a glaring example of spiritual blindness of the people of Israel, whom God liberated from the fetters of slavery under the King of Egypt. As part of their Escape Plan, first God raised up a godly man named Moses to take his people out of Egypt. When they were being rescued and brought out of Egypt, God went in front of them in a pillar of cloud to show them way during the day and during the night as pillar of fire to give them light. Because, God being the light of the world would not let His people walk in the darkness.
With the help of God, Moses parted the Red Sea and made a dry ground at its bottom. The water turned into water walls and remained on both the sides of the dry path. Then Moses led the Israel people through the Red Sea for their escape from the pursuing King’s Army with their Horses and Chariots. God made the wheels of the chariots get stuck on the ground in order to make the movement of the pursuing Army slow and difficult.
When the people were brought safe to the shore of the Red Sea, he let the walls of water fall back over the Egyptians and their chariots and drivers. All the King’s men and horses met with a watery grave. But the rescued Israel People rejected their true God and made a Gold Bull Calf with the help of Aaron and started worshiping this idol at the foot of Mount Sinai. Thus the Israel people failed to know their true God, the God of Israel, due to their spiritual blindness.
(Based in Trichur, Kerala, K. L. Joseph is a Catholic layman who writes on subjects related to the Bible, Church and spirituality.)
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