“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

Monday, March 20, 2006

Proverbs and Jeremiah

Proverbs 3:5
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, don't lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowlege him and he'll make your paths straight.
Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Oliver (1990) states,
They also see themselves as pitiful because they are socialized into accepting disability as a tragedy personal to themselves.

There is a disconnect between the ideas presented above, at least there is for the Christian.

In all our life circumstances we are encouraged to trust in the Lord, because He can be trusted. He loves us and has a plan for our futures. However, disability seems to totally throw us into a tizzy. We loose our balance. We, due to our socialization, accept disability as a tragedy. Now clearly tragedy enters the lives of people. I just wonder sometimes about disability, as tragedy. Does tragedy happen which causes disability? Of course. There are car accidents, and violence against people. But for the moment, lets consider congenital disability. That is disability that people are born with. I am not naive enough to say that life with a child with a disability is always easy or even mostly easy. I just wonder about how I think about disability when the Bible which I claim to base my life upon tells me things like the above. I also wonder to what degree the socialization of disability as tragedy is reflected in the life of the Church which claims to be built upon those same verses listed above?

Disability brings challenges. We have translated challenges into tragedy. Because we have done that, they truly do become tragedy. Because the Church has not stepped forward to support all members, including persons experiencing disability and their families, the likelihood that disability will become tragedy is increased. If I can trust the Lord, and if my Church will support me as I move through the challenges of having a family member experiencing disability, then the works of God will be made manifest (in family members, the person experiencing disability, and the larger Church community) (see 4/1/05 blog entry). However, if I interpret disability as tragedy, what is there to do but mourn and try to make the best of things. Somehow I don't think that is our calling. It definately has become our behavior, our experience, but I don't think it is our calling.

There was this totally spurious method of working with persons with severe disabilities several years back. I don't want to give you the name of those who advocated it or the name of the procedure as I don't want to give it any support whatsoever. However, the upside of the approach was that it brought the community together to help the family to help the child with severe disability. That aspect of the program was truly inspiring and remarkable. Imagine a group of people coming together to support a family in the same manner, only their support was not based on some false approach to working with people with disability, it was based on God's word. The results would be amazing.

Once again, we need to not be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds (see blog post 3/17/06). Interesting, isn't it, how what has become the "obvious" might fall away in the light of the truth of the Bible, if acted upon by the Church.



Anonymous said...

Professor McNair,
I definitely think you are on to something here. I am a firm believer in the sovereignty of God. I believe it is clear in the Word that nothing happens aside from His purpose. We read in the Proverbs that "The king's heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes" (Proverbs 21: 1-2). If then, the Lord is sovereign over the hearts and workings of the most powerful people in the world, we can certainly be confident to know that He is sovereign over all else, including the birth of babies with disabilities. In fact, in the Psalms we read that God creates babies, "weaving them together in the depths." King David speaks explicitly of God's sovereignty in creating human beings in Psalms chapter 139. If God "skillfully wrought [David] in the depths of the earth;" and saw his "unformed substance" then the same is to be applied to all men, for all men are created by God and created in His image.
Moreover, as believers, not only is God sovereign, but we trust that all things come to us as good gifts from Him. Romans 8:28 says, "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." And, in addition, in James 1:17, we read "Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow."
Perhaps it seems basic to restate these fundamental Christian doctrinal truths. However, as much as we "know" them, often Christians find it difficult to put these truths and promises of God into practice. If we truly believe that God only gives us what is good (for we are His children and Fathers provide what is good for their children), and because He is a faithful, good God, then when a child with disabilities is born in the Church, that baby should be seen as a gift from God. It does not escape His notice or deviate from His plan that it has some sort of a disability. Remember, God is both sovereign and good. If a child is born with a disability, it is because God intended it so. I realize this may seem heretical to some, because we know that God is not the author of evil. I am not saying He is. Disabilities are not "evil". If the Lord tells us He gives His people only what is best for them, and He gives some of His children babies with disabilities, then it ought to be our joyful, obedient reponse to embrace that baby and that family and help them to see God's purpose and design in giving them an extra special child to love and teach and grow to know the Lord.

Impossibleape said...

Hi anonymous. I agree with most of your post. I think youare approaching a place where understanding the place of the disabled in teh church and the world but I wonder what di you make of the children that are born that are blind, deaf, deformed and die in agony after many heartwrenching days of screaming and cying? This too is a reality for some parents in this world.
When our son was diagnosed with Fragile X my wife and I joined a support group and I can tell you it isn't always easy to see the good that you speak of.
Also what do we need to say to parents like me whose child has no language, is a perpetual toddler, is not continent, lashes out without rhyme or reason and has no place in any churh anywhere, not even in a segragated friendship club?