Disabilities

Arguing with God

Moses, in the book of Exodus, argued with God when he was told to go and speak with Pharaoh. Moses had a disability, either real or imagined. He said, “O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” (Exodus 4:10) God, however, said to him, ” Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I the Lord? Now go, I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” (Exodus 4:11-12)

God very plainly reminds us in this story that “we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus…” (Ephesians 2:10) Who are we to argue with the Creator? He forms us according to his purpose and subsequently provides all that we need. In Moses’ case, God provided Aaron, Moses’ brother, to speak for him.

What Does it Mean to be a Person With a Disability?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one billion people, or 15% of the world’s population, experience some form of disability. They define a person with a disability as anyone who has “a problem in body function or structure, an activity limitation, has a difficulty in executing a task or action; with a participation restriction.”

People with a disability include those with visual or hearing impairment, ambulatory inabilities, and intellectual or mental disabilities. They can also be anyone with a wide range of disorders that are sensory, cognitive, psychological, or chronic.

The Sanctity of Life Includes People with Disabilities

In spite of the fact that all of us are created in the image of God, we often choose to avoid those who are different from us. We think a disability makes someone abnormal in a normal world. “But in fact God has arranged the parts of the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.” (I Corinthians 12:18)

Do we believe that because someone is disabled they are less valuable in society? “On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable.” (I Corinthians 12:22) Secretly, we may think we are somehow better than another because we are not disabled. “But God has combined the members of the body…so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.” (I Corinthians 12:24-25)

Lack of Understanding

Perhaps because we lack knowledge, our misunderstanding leads us to fear the unknown which translates to avoidance. Instead, we need to regard people with a disability as a normal part of a normal world and treat them as such. Jesus gave us a new command, “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)

Showing Love

The body of Christ must step up to meet the needs of those with disabilities.

  • The most recent data suggests that 6.1 million children in the US have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Globally, 2.2% of children under the age of 18 have been diagnosed.
  • Each year, approximately 6000 babies or one in 700, are born with Down syndrome in the US. Globally, one in 1,000 are born with Down syndrome. Although reliable data is hard to find, results show that 67% of U.S. pregnancies where it is suggested the baby would be born with Down syndrome end in abortion. In Britain, it is 90%. In Denmark, 98% of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted.
  • An estimated 26% of Americans ages 18 and older or about 1 in 4 adults suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. Around 450 million people currently suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.
  • There are currently about 2.7 million wheelchair users in the US. Worldwide, it is estimated almost 132 million people require a wheelchair.
  • About 1 in 54 children in the US have been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Tens of millions of people worldwide carry the diagnosis of autism. Prenatal genetic testing (PGT) for autism is on the rise and will quickly become the next target for abortion.

Time to Have a Conversation

We must discuss ways to meet the needs of those touched by disabilities. Whether it’s the couple considering abortion after receiving a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome or a soldier with physical disabilities due to active duty in the military, we need to recognize their value and worth.

Caregivers must be supported. The church needs to provide children’s programs for those with disabilities too. We must never let our “fear of the unknown” hold us back from engaging people with disabilities. Each one of us is valued by God.

Making A Difference

Investments designated toward the population of those experiencing a disability will be used to help empower those afflicted and create pathways for them to engage and contribute to society.

  • Prosthetics for those who are crippled
  • Wheelchairs, walkers, and devices that create mobility
  • Programs that leverage the differently abled
  • Awareness and equipping training for churches

This population is differently able and eternally loved. Help us help them know it.

You will never have this day again, so make it count.