The Saga of the Bag


 “Jesus answered, ‘It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.’” John 9:3

In John 9, Jesus came upon a man who was blind from birth. His disciples asked Him if the man’s blindness was caused by his sin or the sins of his parents. They were looking for a causal relationship between the man’s blindness and sin.

Jesus seized this teachable moment and taught that the purpose was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.

We learn at least three things from this account. First, there doesn’t have to be a direct causal relationship between a situation and sin. Second, some things happen or exist so that the works of God might be displayed. And finally, the display of God’s work normally happens with people.

Recently, I lost my man bag, which had some valuables in it like my checkbook. I detected its absence on a Sunday morning. I searched everywhere. I searched in our apartment. I searched in my car. I recalled going to a store late Saturday night and figured I left it in the shopping cart or it got lifted from the cart while I was shopping.

I shared it on Sunday morning during the message because it was difficult to center on Jesus while preparing to preach. I think the thing that bothered me the most was that someone would take it and not return it.

After service, a friend and member told me his story of losing something more valuable than my bag. He said that he learned at least two things. He learned to have peace in the midst of a trial and he learned that he should not give up and needed to look more diligently. He proceeded to find it where, in his mind, it shouldn’t have been. He then encouraged me to look deeper in the car.

Reluctantly, I searched again and found the bag in the trunk of the van. I couldn’t believe my eyes because I had searched there at least two times already. Perhaps God blinded me to it like he blinded Chinese security personnel searching for Bibles that Brother Lawrence was smuggling into China.

Regardless, I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t about the bag at all. God’s purpose was to do a work in me.

I personally learned three things. First I needed to ask for peace in a time of trial. Second, I had to be less dependent on material things. And third, I needed to work on not having to be prepared for every circumstance rather than trusting God (I tend to be obsessive about planning for every worst case scenario; hence I started carrying a bag with stuff in it for emergencies with the children when they were small).

The saga of the bag happened so that a work of God might be displayed in me. Is there a trial going on in your life right now? Are you trying to figure out the cause of it? There may be a cause, but, perhaps, your focus should shift to what type of work God is trying to display in you.

Something to think about…

P.S. I still sometimes carry my bag, but won’t fret if I lose it because the content is different.