advent week 3 – too many problems

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Today we are looking at a passage from John, chapter 9, verses 1-7. 

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

Have you ever had a bad day? I’m a commuter, so this kind of day usually starts in morning traffic on I-90 in Chicago. On a bad day, it seems every other driver has a vendetta against me and my sanity. Then maybe you finally arrive at work and realize you forgot your lunch, so you’ll have to overpay for some bad delivery food that will probably arrive cold. 

As the day goes on, you realize your co-workers are in cahoots with the drivers on the interstate because they have nothing but bad news, frustrating last-minute requests, and any other number of things that feel like a waste of what little time you have. Because of the backup of new requests, you make a last-minute decision to stay late again so you can get the work done that you were supposed to do in the first place. Then finally, you sit in more traffic only to arrive home to a family that is frustrated that you once again missed dinner. 

It’s the Christmas season in the church production world, which leads me to believe that you have had more than one of these types of days recently. While the Christmas season is supposed to be defined by joy, for many of us, this season feels like it’s characterized by problems. Not enough money. Not enough volunteers. Not enough time. Too many crazy ideas. Too many events. Too many to-dos. I know I’ve had Christmas seasons in church work where it feels like my job is just to put out fire after fire after fire. But sometimes, I wonder what we might miss by focusing only on the fires and the problems.

Today, we’re looking at the story from John, chapter 9, in which Jesus and his disciples encounter a man born blind. And similar to you and me at Christmastime, Jesus’ disciples are preoccupied with diagnosing the problem. They’re asking questions about who’s at fault or who’s to blame. 

And Jesus’ response is so telling here because he couldn’t be less interested in playing the blame game. In fact, Jesus doesn’t see this man’s blindness as a problem. Or at least, it is not ONLY a problem. Jesus replies, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned…but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in his life.”

While the disciples could only see and focus on the problem, Jesus saw an opportunity within the problem for God to showcase his power. Interestingly, the blind man wasn’t the only one in the story who couldn’t see. Because the disciples were so fixated on the man’s obstacle, they could not see the opportunity for the miraculous right in front of their eyes. And the same is true for us. We’re completely blind to God’s power when we only focus on the problem.

And I wonder how that simple idea might change the way you approach this Christmas. When problems, issues, and the un-ideal pop up, what if you saw the problem as a call to prayer? When it doesn’t go your way, you open yourself up and say, “God, have your way.” If you’re willing to open your eyes to the possibility, I wonder how God might use the problems you’re facing as an opportunity to show his power and faithfulness to you and your team in a fresh way this Christmas.

Need some community and prayer during this time? Reach out to us and let us know how we can pray for you, your family, your team, and your church this holiday season!

Picture of Jon Jorgenson

Jon Jorgenson

Jon is the Creative and Teaching Pastor at Soul City Church in downtown Chicago. He is proud to have been part of the FILO Conference and greater FILO community since 2016 in multiple roles including videography, social media, breakout faculty, and more. Jon lives in Park Ridge with his wife Erin, and his daughter Florence.

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MAY 6-7, 2025