Did God Make Disabilities?
Seeking the Truth
One thing that has become increasingly popular in our world is the need to find a label for everything. A label for what decade a person was born, a term for what sub-culture your music is associated with, Pluto was a planet but now it’s not though some say it should be—the truth is, we are always looking to use proper vocabulary and titles in nearly every circumstance. This same can be said of God. He has many names and titles in the Bible, but they are all referring to the same Lord. The same can be said of people. Not only do we label one another by location and religion, but also by diagnosis. For a person with a disability, or for a person who cares for someone with a disability, there are so many stigmas and stereotypes being thrown at us from all directions. Doctors, politicians, aunts, uncles, teachers, and the person at the supermarket all seem to know what’s going on. Despite what label you may have been placed with that has brought you to this article, it is important to know that God loves you in spite of what the world has to say.
In His Own Image
The world has called many things a disability. Missing limbs, blindness, deafness, autism, ASD, ADHD, and the rest of the alphabet soup; these things are all considered to be a disability. When asking whether or not God made these things by His own design or merely allowed them to occur, it is important to remember one essential detail: God made a person. He doesn’t see any individual as less than a person if he or she is missing an arm or even if their minds don’t work the same as someone else. God created each person in His own image.
“Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.” –Genesis 1:26-27
We don’t know exactly what God looks like, but we do know that each of us was designed after His image. This means that we are all, on an individual level, important to God. No matter what disability a person is faced with, God loves and intends for that person to be. YOU we made intentionally!
Genesis 1:31 says that God saw it all and it was “very good.” Taken for granted, this could be a small statement meaning he spoke and caused the first 6 days to happen and THAT was good. However, the verse says, “God saw all that he had made...”. This means He saw all He had made including the current, present, and future people who would walk this earth. With all of the priming we receive from the world to think a certain way or to accept certain things as “normal”, it is no wonder that it is a hard concept to grasp that God could look at a child or adult with a disability and say that this is “good.”
The Definition of “Sovereign”
If God is going to make us stewards of the earth, and if we are to believe that God is ruler and king of all, we need to understand and appreciate what that means. According to lexico.com, powered by Oxford, “sovereign” means “A supreme ruler, especially a monarch.” And “Possessing supreme or ultimate power.” Certainly, we could argue that this is just more labels, but what it means in a more poetic sense is that the Supreme Being, Lord of All, our Sovereign King who sent His only Son to die on the cross did not make any mistakes.
When God was preparing Moses and calling him to go free the Israelites from the Pharaoh, Moses protested many times blaming the hesitations on his inability to speak clearly. You see, Moses had what we would call today a stutter, and he was very self conscious of it. Though he had great faith in God to mighty things, his faith was not strong enough to trust that God would give him the ability to speak clearly. This was extremely frustrating to God who, mind you, was speaking to Moses from a burning bush:
“The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them 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 KNEW that Moses struggled with speech. Imagine: it was His plan all along to give Moses a strong voice to glorify God. But, because Moses continued to protest and ask God to send someone else, his brother Aaron did much of the talking.
What we can learn from Exodus 4:11-12 is that not only does God know each person’s abilities, but that he desires to help us along the way as long as we are obedient and faithful. This promise of our importance and acceptance in the eyes of God are reaffirmed many times. Here is another example:
“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” –Luke 12:6-7
Did Sin Cause This to Happen?
Yes, and no. This is a tricky question to address, but we cannot fully discuss God’s perspective on people with disabilities if we do not ask it. Again, to find the answers we can look to the words of God, but this time in the form of Jesus. You might have already read about the man who was blind from birth that Jesus healed by mixing spit with dirt, and then rubbing it on the man’s eyes. The disciples asked Jesus, “who sinned” to cause him to be born blind. Jesus answered in John 9, verse 3, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.””
In another instance, God healed a man who was born paralysed:
“Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralysed and they waited for the moving of the waters. From time to time an angel of the Lord would come down and stir up the waters. The first one into the pool after each such disturbance would be cured of whatever disease they had. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”” –John 5:3-5
At the Healing Pools of Bethesda many would go when the angel came. The first in the pool would be healed. The man in this story was healed by simply obeying Jesus when told, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” (John 5:8)
The man in this case was not paralysed because of his own sin, or that of his mother or father. Both instances were designed so that Jesus could perform a miracle and show that He is the Son of God with the power to heal. These were just stepping stones leading to His ultimate feat: the power to conquer death.
To sum up this section: did sin cause this to happen? There would be no need for God to prove himself through miracles had the original sin never happened. This is a much bigger picture than any one person. When Eve took the bite of the fruit of that forbidden tree then proceeded to pass it on to Adam, they unlocked the curses of this world by tasting the Knowledge of Good and Evil because God had to cast them out of the Garden of Eden and seal it away. But rest assured, it was not your sin or your child’s. There is no need to place blame even on Adam and Eve. Simply put your faith in God and give Him the glory in your trials with this disability and allow His blessings fill your life.
God makes no mistakes. He knows what you are going through and that things can be hard, but He wants you to know that there is hope. There is hope in His love and power! God sends forth His angels and the Holy Spirit to go before you and fight the spiritual battles, as well as the physical, alongside you. Hold on the hope of salvation in Jesus Christ. The fight on this earth may feel like an endless battle, but He has already won the war. The world wants you to dwell on disability as if it is a death sentence, but God calls each of us His children and wants His merciful love to fill our hearts.
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” –1 John 3:1
Something I’ve noticed about working with people with autism, ASD, ADHD, dyspraxia and a host of other conditions is that the world has placed them in box and limited their ability to flourish simply because of doubt and lack of understanding. The reality is that these children are brilliant and fully capable with advanced understanding in many areas. Yes, their lives or the lives of their families may be difficult, but with persistence and patience they are testimonies to the wondrous power of God.
“At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.” –Luke 10:21
Perhaps what we’ve learned to label as a disability is not a disability at all, but a super ability to connect with the Father in heaven on a level we may never know.
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Anne Laure x
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