Today's devotion from Job 4 and 5.
Job's friends have come to "comfort" him. The first to speak, Eliphaz, thinks he has the answer to Job's problem. Obviously, Job has sinned. He tells Job, "Behold, blessed is the one whom God reproves; therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty. For he wounds, but he binds up; he shatters, but his hands heal." (Job 5:17-18, ESV)
In these verses, Eliphaz is basically telling Job to embrace the pain as instructive. Find the sin and confess it. The only problem is...you and I know something Eliphaz doesn't. We even know something that Job himself doesn't know. He is not being punished. The calamity he is enduring is not chastisement for some sin. It's actually the opposite. Job is suffering for the glory of God, to prove the worthiness of God even to those who are in pain.
Unfortunately, Eliphaz's line of reasoning is not unique. In John 9 Jesus encountered a blind man, "His disciples asked Him, “'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?' Jesus answered, 'Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened that the works of God would be displayed in him.'" (John 9:2-3, ESV)
The disciples assumptions were similar to Eliphaz's, but the real answer was similar to what was happening to Job. Did you catch the answer? The suffering was for the glory of God. Sometimes, unfortunately, we experience pain simply because we live in a fallen world where the Enemy has mangled God's good creation. Yet, even in the wreckage our God is able to claim glory, and to prove His ultimate worthiness.
There is no definitive answer. During the earthly ministry of Jesus, He healed several people with similar ailments, but never the same exact way. The reason is because He was the source of healing, not the method. We can't look at life and suffering like a formula. We can't simply rub mud in the eyes of the blind and cause them to see. However, we can look to God in our pain and trust that He WILL redeem even the most dire situation and display His worthiness for all to see.