Matthew 9:27-34

As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, crying loudly, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” When he entered the house, the blind men came to him; and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to him, “Yes, Lord.” Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you.” And their eyes were opened. Then Jesus sternly ordered them, “See that no one knows of this.” But they went away and spread the news about him throughout that district.

After they had gone away, a demoniac who was mute was brought to him. And when the demon had been cast out, the one who had been mute spoke; and the crowds were amazed and said, “Never has anything like this been seen in Israel.” But the Pharisees said, “By the ruler of the demons he casts out the demons.” Matthew 9:27-34

It feels like just the other day we were glued to weather reports, feeling the anxiety of Hurricane Harvey, slowly but surely, methodically meandering toward the Texas coast. It looked like it was going to be really bad. It was. But it could have been much worse. Now we’re watching Hurricanes Irma and Jose. We’re watching what happens when wind damage precedes flooding. Our hearts go out to those living on the islands and the mainland as they prepare and evacuate. Have mercy on us, Son of David!

Yesterday Mexico was hit by an earthquake. That created some tsunami waves that affected some coastal regions. And along with the hurricanes now in the Atlantic, Hurricane Katia is threatening the southern Mexican coast. Have mercy on us, Son of David!

I’ve been in several flooded houses lately. We’ve been working in the homes of the members of our congregation and their neighbors. Yesterday marked the first time that we were able to get into and begin cleaning the only house I ever bought in my life. My daughter and her family live there now. It is both heartbreaking and cathartic to pry open your grandchildren’s dresser drawers with a crowbar in order to throw their still soaking things into a trash bag. Their toys, old Halloween costumes, stuffed animals, Disney sheets, and all of the books that put them to bed and opened their minds to the world.

The heartbreak is the end of one kind of childhood innocence. The catharsis is realizing that they had a ton of stuff that they don’t use or need anymore. Some will be replaced but they are OK and that is all that matters.

Then to come home and catch up on the news. Seeing again what hurricane winds can do, realizing suddenly that a flooded house is an extremely disruptive and expensive inconvenience but a home reduced to splinters is devastation. Have mercy on us, Son of David!

We’ve been hosting a camp for children this week at church. The first day of school was pushed back a week and we knew that one way we could care for families was to provide care for their kids. In our chapel service the first day I raised the question that people always ask in times like this, Why do bad things happen to good people? Even children ask that question, in their own way. I don’t have an answer except to say, bad things happen to good people because bad things happen to all people. I’ll ask the same question later this morning and I know that I will hear a chorus of 80 children echoing that line. They learned, and accepted, it immediately.

Then I said, And what do people who follow Jesus do when bad things happen to people? We do the best good things for them that we can do. Why? Because that is what Jesus did.

The blind see. The mute talk. The flooded recover. The crowds are amazed. The Pharisees mock.

Let us pray: Dear Lord, suffering and fear abound. Still the storms. Protect the people. Guide the authorities and first responders and all in a position to help their neighbor. See us through this season. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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2 Responses to “Matthew 9:27-34”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    I look to the last chapters of Genesis for my answer to “why do bad things happen…” Because Joseph had been sold into slavery in Egypt, and all the events that transpired after that, Jacob’s family was saved from the famine. It seems to answer the question for me.

  2. Carolee Groux Says:

    The song goes “Oh nobody’s seen the troubles I’ve seen”. We are seeing a season of troubles for so many: hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, and fire. It is disturbing to watch on TV, and we respond with our prayers, donations, and offerings of help.

    Isaiah 46:4 promises: “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” (NIV)

    Let these words from God give strength to the afflicted and hope to the struggling. Amen.

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