Do you have a spiritual perspective on why children have disabilities? Does God choose particular children/parents?
No disability is good. Some are a result of our choosing to live without God. Genetic disabilities are different. John 9 tells about a man who was born blind. Jesus said his blindness was not the result wrong behavior (neither the parents nor the man himself.) Instead Jesus continues, “It happened.” I think genetic disabilities and natural disasters are similar. They happen. We live in a good but not a completed world. Good but not completely perfect children are born into our world.
I’m more certain of what God does for children with disabilities and their parents than I am why they happen. Jesus had compassion for, hung around and healed children (and adults) with disabilities, even some who were ungrateful.
I don’t believe God chooses particular children/ parents to endure horrible disabilities. I believe God does choose to work grace in all of us. As my favorite rock star theologian Bono says, “Grace travels outside of karma, Grace finds beauty in everything, Grace finds goodness in every thing, grace makes beauty out of ugly things. As a Wesleyan the final’ ugly to beauty grace’ will happen when we leave these bodies and are glorified.
We live in the world that already experiences God’s grace and has not yet received all that God has for us. Donald Miller likens this to receiving an invitation to the Wedding Feast but not yet sitting down at the table. So we are called to respond, to love those with disabilities, to try to see the beauty in everyone and to prepare for what is to come.
Steve Thomas is Pastor of Families at Harmony Grove United Methodist Church in Lilburn, GA Together with his wife Cheryl he has two children Geren and Glori. Geren is a Senior at Parkview High School and Glori is a Freshman. Steve has a Master’s of Divinity from Candler School of Theology, Emory University. Steve is blessed by grace each day but counts by far the most explicit experience of God’s grace as the day when his wife Cheryl was a living kidney donor for a young girl with ARPKD.