It is amazing how intelligent we can be…until we are put on the spot. When asked a challenging trivia question in front of a group, some people (including myself, at times) can just “lock up”, as their brain panics and can’t find the answer to something that they would normally know under calmer circumstances. Or, what about when we get caught doing something that we shouldn’t? That’s a great prescription for putting even the most verbose of us at a loss for words.
In reality, though, there are things we know and things we don’t know. At work, being able to tell someone that I don’t know a particular answer (especially when it is out of my realm of responsibility) can be freeing. I’m not pretending to be ignorant, in order to keep from helping out a colleagues; instead, I simply don’t have the answer. I might suggest others who can help, or point the requester towards another source of information. Sometimes, I might even go out and try to learn the answer myself, but in the meantime, no amount of being asked the question in different ways is going to cure my lack of knowledge.
In the aftermath from Jesus healing a blind man, the guy who was just healed from blindness is getting grilled by religious leaders. After telling them about how Jesus had restored his sight, we come to this verse:
They said to him, “Where is He?” He said, “I do not know.”
John 9:12 NASB
To be fair, there were probably lots of people around, and Jesus’ location wasn’t being broadcast on the Internet by reporters or supporters. So, it’s fair that this guy (who, after having been blind since he was born, had just gotten the ability to see!) didn’t actually know where Jesus was at that very moment. “I do not know” was a simple and honest answer. (If you haven’t read this entire chapter of John 9 recently, I encourage you to do so. While this man didn’t try to make things up that he didn’t know, he was very clear on what had happened, and stood up to some strong resistance because he had the truth as his ally. It’s a great account.)
However, we have some advantages today that this man didn’t have access to. Jesus doesn’t livestream on the web or broadcast on a Twitch account, but thanks to the Bible, we know that Jesus returned to Heaven, where He awaits the command of the Father to return and gather His adopted siblings home.
Still, even if we happen to know Jesus’ “location” (although I’m not sure if we can pinpoint Heaven as coordinates in the known universe), this leads us to another question: When Jesus makes a difference in our lives, are we clear to others about His role? That is, do we tell people about “where Jesus is” in our lives?
When God makes events line up for our benefit, and people tell us, “Wow – you’re really good!”, it’s all too easy to either take the credit for ourselves, or just change the subject so that we don’t have to talk about His contribution (which can be awkward in some circumstances). When God puts us in just the right place at the right time to bless someone else, do we just shrug it off and chalk it up to “coincidence”, or are we proud to tell the recipients that we know God intervened on our – and their – behalf?
Maybe you’ve already mastered the art of seizing the opportunities that God gives to you. Maybe you are so excited about what God has done for you that you can’t keep it to yourself. If so, that’s great!
On the other hand, if you – like me – sometimes struggle with how to respond to questions when God intervenes in your life, consider that these situations are provided for us to give glory to God, and to testify to what He has done in our lives. After all, if the God of the universe just intervened on our behalf, surely we can trust Him to back us up if we tell the truth about Him to others.
I think that some of this starts ahead of time. My regular prayer list includes a request for opportunities to share the news about God with others. When those opportunities surface, though, I need to be ready. While I could memorize a specific testimony about God (which is actually a pretty good idea for some situations), sometimes I just need to be humble and open to the leading of the Holy Spirit, and speak what He direct me to say. I may need to remind myself that I have nothing to fear with God on my side (see Deuteronomy 3:21-22, and 1 John 4:18).
So, don’t be afraid to credit Jesus for His work in your life. We don’t have the excuse of this man who had lost track of Jesus’ physical location. Instead, we can boldly tell others where He is, and how He is an active and powerful part of our lives.
Consider the testimony of the man who was healed from a lifetime of physical blindness, and whether we might testify to God’s work in our lives in the same way:
Since the beginning of time it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, He could do nothing.”
John 9:32-33 NASB