Monday, February 16, 2015

Are Children Who Are Disabled & Ugly, Gifts of God?

                  Our world discriminates the ugly1 and the disabled. 2 But the Bible does not discriminate them. The Bible says, “Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.” (Psalm 127: 3, NASB). So our question could be organized as:

            A. God creates life (Isaiah 42: 5; Job 33: 4; Colossians 1: 16; Revelation 4: 11).

            B. If children are a gift from God, must we also consider ugly and disabled children as a gift from God?

            C. Gifts are to be good (Matthew 7: 11; James 1: 17; Romans 6: 23; Ephesians 2: 8), so how can an ugly or a disabled child be a good gift from God?

            We may consider this theme from a theoretical standpoint, for we may not be exposed to disability in our lives. But there are those who are either disabled or are circumstantially mandated to nurture the disabled. Those exposed to ugliness and disability could question God more vigorously, for to live with ugliness or disability is never easy.

            Within this context, the term ‘differently abled’ is gradually contesting the term ‘disabled.’ The disabled could be differently abled if we consider the lives of Albert Einstein, Sir Isaac Newton, Mozart, Charles Darwin etc. These famous personalities may have been on the autism spectrum; however their disability did not limit them from achieving greatness.3

            Whatever said and done, it is difficult to live with any kind of disability. Hence we could question the fact of ugly or disabled children being a gift from God, for it seems that God intentionally created these children with certain disabilities.

            So how do we reconcile the fact that ugly and disabled children are God’s gift to mankind?

Understanding the Fall

            A proper understanding of the ‘fall’ would enable us to overcome pain and live victoriously.  Since Adam and Eve rejected and sinned against God through their disobedience, God altered the dynamics of our earthly living (Genesis 3: 16-19). Thus pain is innate to our earthly existence.

            If pain is innate to our earthly existence, then it is futile to question pain. Similarly, it is futile to question God.

            Questioning God will not transform ugliness to beauty or disability to ability. Questioning God exposes our lack of understanding of the Bible.

God Is Not Obligated To Anyone

            God is not obligated to offer a painless life to a Christian. In other words, HIS gifts need not always be ‘good’ according to our definition of good. We define beauty as good; we do not define ugliness as good. Similarly we do not define disability as good.

            God is not a goodness vending machine through the nonexistence of pain. Significantly, God will offer goodness even through pain. An early comprehension of this truth would enable us to lead a victorious Christian life.

            According to HIS wisdom, God allows pain in our lives. Pain manifests through disability, ugliness, death etc.

            Certain painful situations can be overcome e.g. headache can be cured or a malfunctioning kidney could be surgically removed, and normal life could be lived. However, other painful situations cannot be overcome e.g. amputated limb does not grow. During painful instances, normal lives - lives lived in the comforting confines of a normal body or mind - cannot be lived.

            So God is not obligated to offer a painless life to any individual. In fact, God, through HIS wisdom and justice will allow painful situations to invade lives of certain people.

            What then is the purpose of God’s gifts? How could gifts that bring pain into our lives be good gifts?

            In order to live victoriously, we should understand the purpose behind God’s gifts.

To Praise & Glorify God Is Chief End Of Man   

            Let’s get to the basics.

            Although life is a gift of God, why did God create life?

            The chief end of man is to praise and glorify God always (1 Chronicles 16: 23 - 29; Psalm 86: 12; Matthew 5: 16; 1 Corinthians 6: 20, 10: 31 etc.).

            Glorifying God always is to glorify God during successes and failures. We are to glorify God during goodness and pain. This is the purpose of our lives.

            Consider Lazarus’ death and resurrection; the Lord taught that Lazarus’ sickness and death is for God’s glory (John 11: 4). The Bible is replete with such instances that pain and suffering is for God’s glory (cf. John 9: 2-3; Exodus 9: 13-16 etc.).  The Bible teaches us that we should praise and glorify God during moments of joy and sorrow.

            Therefore, God should be glorified when a child is born. We are also mandated to nurture the child so that he/she glorifies God.

            If God is to be glorified always, then God should be glorified by a child who is normal and a child who is disabled. But in order for this to happen, the parents should glorify God when they are gifted with a healthy child or when they are gifted with an unhealthy or disabled or ugly child.

            If parents glorify God during moments of joy and sorrow, then the child would also glorify God during joyous or sorrowful moments.

            Thus the Bible establishes the most important truth of a Christian life - to glorify God always – be it through a healthy or a disabled child. 

            Significantly, goodness of God’s gift is only realized when God is glorified. If God is not glorified, then the life that does not glorify God cannot be a good life. A healthy life that does not glorify God is not a good life.

            Therefore, a healthy life is not necessarily a good life or a healthy child need not be a good gift from God.           

            Any child, be it healthy or unhealthy, is a good gift from God since it has the potential to glorify God always. But goodness of the gift is realized when that healthy or unhealthy life glorifies God.  

God Gives & Cares

            God does not give and abandon us; instead HE gives and cares for us. HE cares us naturally - through family, friends, medical care etc., and HE cares for us supernaturally by providing divine strength, wisdom, peace, comfort, and encouragement to our weary spirit and soul.

            If we seek God, then God enables us to glorify HIM always. Those who have honestly sought God while under terrible trials and tribulations will vouch for the existential fact that God cares for the weary and downtrodden (cf. Isaiah 40: 29 & Matthew 11: 28).

            Hence God’s care during trials and tribulations is as much experienced in the practical realm as it is read and assimilated in the theoretical realm. 

Protect God’s Gifts

            Thus far, two central biblical imperatives have been established:

            1. God should be glorified always. God is the Heavenly Father for all mankind, since HE is the creator and sustainer. Life is to be lived to glorify God always.

            2. Every gift is a good gift since every life has the potency to glorify God in every situation of life – good or bad notwithstanding. A life would be a good life only when God is glorified during moments of goodness and pain.

            Therefore, every gift of God should be protected by us – be it a healthy or an unhealthy child. We should not discriminate the disabled or the ugly. But we should protect the disabled and the ugly so that they glorify God through their ugliness and disability.

            In conclusion, God could be glorified by people who are normal and disabled. Ugliness or disability is not a means to reject God. In fact, disability or adversity should carry us closer to God, for it is only God who can comfort us naturally and supernaturally.

            Every child born into this world is a good gift from God. We are obligated to care and nurture every life that God creates, and by the grace of God, we can. God would help us care for everyone – the healthy and the disabled – as long as we seek God to do HIS perfect and pleasing will.

            So may we seek God and glorify HIM always and may we nurture those around us to praise and glorify God. Amen.




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