John 9:1-3 – And Jesus passing by, saw a man, who was blind from his birth: And His disciples asked Him: Rabbi, who hath sinned, this man, or his parents, that he should be born blind? Jesus answered: Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents; but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. (Douay-Rheims)
We are all familiar with the story of the man born blind, how Jesus cures him, and the man begins a voyage of faith. But what if a person were to lose his sight in a tragic way? How would God manifest His works through such a person?
In 1972, during one of the worst years of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, a ten-year-old boy, Richard Moore, was walking home from school with his friends in Derry City. From inside his secure military hut, a British soldier fired a rubber bullet at this group of children at the bottom of a playground. It hit Richard on the bridge of the nose at ten feet, blinding him instantly and sending him to the hospital and onto a far greater journey.
He could have become a poster boy for those who would advocate violence as the means to solve the Troubles of Northern Ireland. Instead, by the grace of God, he learned to forgive the man who maimed him, and he walked away from darkness into the light of God.What is Richard doing these days? He founded a charity called "Children in Crossfire" in 1996 to help children in Tanzania and Ethiopia who are caught in the crossfire of poverty and injustice. In Richard's weakness, God's strength has come through.
He tells his incredible journey in the book, "Can I Give Him My Eyes?" He also talks about his own country and what is the path to peace.
- I have come to realise that it does not matter if you are Protestant or Catholic, Unionist or Nationalist, British or Irish, the suffering is the same. And if we are to build a true and lasting peace in Northern Ireland, then one of the challenges will be to deal with the hurts of the past and try to ensure that they are not handed on to the next generation.
These words are true for us today, as there is always someone out there we need to forgive, in order to sow the seeds of peace and to make sure that the evils of today are not passed on to our children and our grandchildren.
Prayer: Father God, may we keep in mind the words You inspired in the psalmist long ago, for these are the words we must heed today if we are to walk from our blindness into Your light: "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." (Psalm 119.105 KJV) Amen.