In the summer of 2015 I had the great privilege of meeting a 14 years old boy with autism named Lee (a pseudonym) while at my Joni And Friends internship experience in Virginia. We had many interactions with several children with special needs but it wasn’t until I met Lee that I saw that disabilities were nothing more than God’s Holiness, Higher power, and image of Him. That it is His-abilities at work.
In the book of John, chapter 9, Jesus is asked a very interesting question by His disciples:
“Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind [disable]?”…this is a question many of us ask ourselves as we wrestle with what seems abnormal and unfair. In fact, til date the majority of the world thinks as the apostles did in this passage; that people with disabilities must be cursed of God. I mean, why else would He do such thing as to birth them handicapped, right?
But our great God knew this would run through our minds from day one and so He took His disciples to this blind man that they may see what He sees…
“Jesus answered, neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him [has this man been born blind]”
Did you catch that?
Neither has sinned!!? We’re all sinners (Rom 3:23) so clearly that’s not what Jesus was trying to get across in responding this way; Instead, what Jesus meant to say and do was to clarify the erroneous thoughts of blindness/disability being a punishment from God. Because it isn’t. Disability is actually a revelation of God’s work in these individuals lives.
Lee showed that to me, this kid was the beginning of my endless love for the special needs community. A love that has taken over my life of service to Christ. Listen to the thoughts God inspired:
Sunday morning Journal meditation- Camp HighRoad, VA
“What a privilege to get to be a part of these children’s laughter, their strengths and weaknesses. Lee was so full of excitement at the thought of so many of these activities [which he’s done 2 years in a row in the summer] and so consumed by how things happened “last time at camp” (his memory is impeccable). I loved his humanness (the candidness of his emotions and thoughts). I don’t feel I got to experience what it is to be a parent to someone like him or any of these kids [which was my prayer for this weekend], mostly cause we didn’t have to endure the trials of showering, toileting, and bedtime–some are awake even now (4am, 5am, 6am…) and we are not required to be up with them. But I definitely got a much better idea. I still believe you can see beauty in the ashes, see the individual and plan out an amazing godly life for them, if only focused on You Lord. These kids are true gifts (Lee made me laugh so much!)…You have not given burdens.” -7/12/15
And indeed He hasn’t. I resumed to fill 3 pages worth of everything Lee was and did that weekend that made me see God’s work in him. Above all the simple fact that Lee made me laugh…
“so much that I can’t even say this is ministry. Have I had a wrong idea of ministry? I don’t feel challenged but it is because I’ve enjoyed these children so much. This is supposed to be my ‘out-of-comfort zone’…what a privileged blessing to finally feel so at home” -7/12/15
I pray by His grace, that you too come to this “at home” place in your world. May He fill you with wonder and joy as He has done with me, and show you that this is indeed His-ability at work!