You have no serious health issues. You don’t live with pain every moment you’re awake. You can walk across the floor with ease. You don’t pray as you’re running to the bathroom that you don’t wet all over yourself. You don’t take a handful of pills. You don’t talk with your doctor more than you talk with your parents. So, why bother? Why read a blog dealing with disability? Three reasons:
One: You will suffer.
Suffering is not optional in this fallen world. When God spoke with Adam and Eve after the Fall, He made clear that by sinning the first couple had opened a Pandora’s box of suffering. Eve would bring forth her children in pain, and Adam would work in great toil to harvest food for his family until he returned to the ground from which he had been taken (Gen 3:14-19). Because sin and death have spread to all people, you will not be immune to heartache (Rom 5:12).
Many foolishly believe that tragedy could never befall them. Kyle, a recent high school graduate, doesn’t need to slow down around the curve; he’s too good a driver to have an accident. Jane may be getting tired more easily and losing weight without trying, but cancer doesn’t run in her family. Joe knows he should cut back on the steak and quit smoking, but he’s never going to have a heart attack. “Time and chance happen” to everyone (Eccl 9:11). Sooner or later it will be your time; sooner or later chance will not be on your side.
Two: You need to know the Rock before you suffer.
Job lost everything: his livelihood, his children, and his health. While Job sits among the ashes scrapping himself with broken pottery, Mrs. Job comes and urges God’s servant to curse the Lord and die. Job says, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10). I would never encourage you to call your wife a “foolish” woman, but Job is on to something big. Job knew before he faced disaster that God reigns, that God is good, and that God gives good gifts. Job knew that, even when life is turned upside down, God is the bedrock upon which we can stand.
Build your faith before you face trials. Look at how others have faced adversity. Take comfort that others have overcome. Know that God comforts the afflicted. Trust in the power of prayer. Grow deep roots in the truth of God’s Word so you may stand fast in the face of adversity.
Three: You may minister more effectively to the hurting.
Jesus emptied Himself, became a man, and so greatly humbled Himself before God that He was willing to endure the pain of the cross for that was the will of God (Phil 2:5-8). Because Jesus faced temptation in the flesh, He serves as a merciful and faithful high priest and we have access to the throne of grace (Heb 5:14-16). Jesus came and suffered as a mortal man; therefore, He can help mortal man.
You know that those who have walked in someone else’s shoes can provide much more help and comfort than someone who thinks he has all the answers. Before my wife gave birth to my firstborn, I knew everything there was to know about parenting: you could ask me any question, and I’d know the answer; my children would never eat junk food; and my children would never act up in church Guess what? Everything I knew about parenting went out the window when RJ was born. Every day I learn just how little I know about parenting.
Many people, while well meaning, offer meaningless advice. I can barely walk to the refrigerator to get something to drink, but someone told me if I walk a couple miles a day my health would improve drastically. Maybe if I take a certain herb . . . maybe if I see a certain doctor . . . maybe if I see a chiropractor. . . . These folks mean well: they love me and want what’s best for me, but if they had a fuller understanding of the challenges I face they would never make such meaningless, although well-intentioned, statements.
If you pay attention to my struggles, you can learn how to help others. You can minister with the love of Jesus more fully. And, as you minister in Jesus’ name, He will walk with you.