A Blind Man
According to the common thinking of the day, personal disaster was always the result of some sinful behavior. And even those closest to Jesus can have crazy ideas sometimes. I’m glad that Jesus set his disciples straight: “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.” 

But that could also be the reason for anything we might be going through! God's work in our lives might take surprising forms. But just knowing that there is meaning in our struggles can be incredibly empowering 1 ​​

​And Jesus backed up his words with action. He spat on the dusty trail. He bent down, and made some mud out of the now-wet dust, and put the mud on the blind man’s eyes. Then, without any promises, he sent this man on a long hike to the Pool of Siloam.
Jesus...went out of the temple. John 9:1 (ESV) As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned,  this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him... 5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
6 After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. 7 “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.
From the Temple to the Pool of Siloam (which was discovered in 2004 2 ) is roughly 600 meters down a major thoroughfare (think Leicester Square in London or Times Square in New York). It would have been teeming with people throughout the day. And it is through this crowd that Jesus asks this mud-covered blind man to walk. But neither the mud nor the pool was necessary for the blind man's healing. So why did Jesus command it? Only as an illustration for us! 

Everyone who has ever heard (or read!) the words of Jesus is like the blind man: we are all trying to decide how much to pay attention, and how far to take our obedience to his words. Some might decide not to bother -- a man born blind has no idea what he is missing. Others would be more aware of their need, but decide obedience isn't worth the hassle after things become uncomfortable. Others would go farther. Some -- perhaps not very many -- would take obedience to its conclusion. Though not knowing exactly what to expect, those who follow Jesus' words will have a whole new world open up for them.