A few days ago I was clicking through the channels on my TV, looking for something of redeeming value when I was stopped by something that was being said by one of the actors in a particular movie:
“What is Parkinson’s?”
“Oh, that’s God’s special way of telling us that He loves us...”
Of course this actor meant this in a derisive and condescending way towards God; knowing that this particular person is an Atheist. What interested me about his remarks was that he was not far from the actual truth.
We tend to think of human disabilities as negative parts of life. Some critics of God say that these disabilities are clear evidence that God does not exist; if He does, He does not really loves us. The thought here is that disabilities or inadequacies or anything that makes us less than normal, are what is wrong with human life.
I will concede that suffering, sickness, and death, are all a result of this fallen world and not at all a part of God’s plan for mankind’s perfection. What I have learned about disabilities from my own life is that the Lord has made us the way that we are for a purpose:
“For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them”. —Psalms 139:13-15
According to the words of God in this Psalm, the way that we are made is all part of God’s plan. Your life, with all of its struggles. Your body with all of its imperfections. Your suffering and all the pain that result, are part of a very intricate and wonderful plan for your life.
The Lord described the Apostle Paul with these words:
“He is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles…For I will shown him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake” —Acts 9:15
God makes us who we are for a specific reason. If you were born with certain limitations or handicaps, this is for purpose. Perhaps you have felt like your disability, or lack of ability was a mistake because it makes you different from other people. You are correct, but not in the way you think.
The way that you exist as a person is so much more than you have considered. People with disabilities are gifted and endowed with qualities that “normal people” do not possess.
How do I know this? I was born with a disability myself. All of my life I wondered why I was different. I never seemed to fit in with the crowd I wanted to be a part of.
That was until I discovered that God made me this way, on purpose.
Because of the suffering that I endured as a result of my disability and the way that I was treated by other people, I developed a heart of sensitivity and compassion for people who are like me. I realized over time that I was given a great privilege by God. I can see see and feel things that many cannot. I can understand people and have compassion for people who are unnoticed and forgotten. I can love people who feel unlovable because of the way that the world has treated them. I can do these things because the Lord created me with my disability.
This means that I have this condition because the Lord Loves Me!
I would not have the capacities of love, compassion, and empathy for people who are similar to myself, if not for my own disability.
This may come as a stunning revelation to a person who does not know God in the same way that I and others know Him. There are many millions of people with disabilities that have found a barrier to God because they were born with an affliction, disease, sickness, or disorder. They cannot understand how a God of Love could make someone like them to suffer throughout their entire life.
I understand this, as I have often felt the same way. It was because of my suffering in my disability that I began to search for the reasons why I was born this way. In this long process, I learned that God’s desire for this world was that every person would be born perfect and whole. He did not intend that any human being would suffer, get sick, or die. He made us perfect from the beginning. Starting with the first human being, Adam chose of his own free will, to live his life apart from God. This imperfection was passed on from generation after generation. It caused sickness, suffering, and death for all human beings. We can blame the first man for our trouble or we can blame God for making such strict rules. The truth is that each one of us today have also made our own decision to live our life, apart from God. In this regard, we are also responsible for continuing the same curse that exists on earth for every person, the true cause of all human suffering.
Once we realize this we understand that our suffering is our fault, not God’s.
Why doesn’t God do something about all the suffering and death that we experience? He has! This was the reason that God sent His Son into the world to become one of us.
Jesus was fully God, but born fully human. He lived a perfect life so that He could cancel the error of the first man, and make it possible for all of us to gain the perfect world that God has longed to give us. Jesus died for us, paying the penalty for our wrongs and removing them forever.
God made our redemption very easy: simply believe upon Jesus for your salvation and live the rest of your life for Him, and you have eternal life.
Until that time when this entire process is complete and the last person has made their decision to believe and follow Jesus, or to reject Him, we must continue to live in this fallen world. For this reason, people like me, like you, will live here with our disabilities—so that we can help so many who need someone who understands them.
God chose to make certain people for this fallen world, with certain disabilities, so that they could help others who are also suffering.
Those who are perfect in their bodies cannot possibly understand what it is like to be one of us, who live in broken bodies. If there were non of us that existed in this broken world, God would have no one to help, heal, and encourage the many millions who suffer like we do.
If you understand what I am saying then you realize that we have been given a great gift.
We are able to experience the incredible joy of helping people with their lives. There is nothing in this world that feels as good as helping someone rise above their circumstances and be free of sorrow, shame, and guilt.
If you are a believer in Jesus Christ as your Savior, then you should know that none of us should ever complain to God because of a lack of gifts or abilities, or because of limitations or handicaps. Psalm 139:13-16 indicates that our very genetic structure is in the hands of God. Each of us must accept himself and be himself.
Even more, we must not; cannot, ever quit!
You see, I have learned that my suffering has humbled my heart. I think that if I was born without this disability that I have, I would have been a drastically different person. I am certain that I would have much greater pride and far less compassion. I know that what I have suffered has made me the person that I am. God in His wisdom, understands that fallen human beings can only be made better persons and help other people become better persons, through suffering. People who experience little trouble during their lives, usually do not notice or care as much for those of us who experience such great difficulty. There are some of the fortunate who begin to realize that their wealth or privilege, or lack of difficulty was a message to their heart that God wanted to also use them. He raises up some of these persons who have the resources necessary to help the unfortunate. These persons are also a part of His plan.
The Great God who created this majestic universe, has everything under control. It may seem like the world is headed for destruction, but nothing could be further from the truth. At just the right time, Jesus will return again to earth and fulfill all of His promises to us. He will end all of the suffering and death and begin an endless eternity of perfection. You and I are invited to be a part of this incredible promise; if we will only believe that it is true through faith in Jesus and live the rest of our lives like we believe it.
You are not less than others, if you suffer with a disability, inadequacy, failure, or weakness. You are chosen by God for an extremely important job. There are millions of people in this world who just need a little encouragement. There are so many today who are about to give up. There are countless people who do not have a friend who will accept and love them for who they are. You can be that person and change their life forever.
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