Children with Disabilities in the Eyes of God
By Jessa Alexis V. Jimenea
Today, many children suffer from developmental disabilities and congenital abnormalities. Most often, every family member, primarily the father, mother and siblings, adjust their lifestyle in a way that the needs of these children will be accommodated. Different lifestyle changes that the family go through vary from dietary changes, type of family activities inside the house and choice of social gatherings to go to. In addition, emotional stress, feelings of hopelessness and helplessness of the parents and siblings need to be processed so they can gracefully cope with day to day challenges. Furthermore, some have special needs such as adaptive equipment (eg. wheelchair) for daily use and constant physical assistance in doing self-care activities.
Can you imagine yourself growing up to be an atypical child? Or can we put ourselves in their parent’s shoes? If we have special siblings with special needs, how would our choices affect the family life? You may endure a day or two, but it takes more than a care or concern for you to manage these children. It takes unconditional love and commitment flowing in through us to help these children thrive and grow. With proper nurturance, there is strong evidence that their disabilities can be overcome.
We should be grateful that we are living in an era where acceptance and stigma to these people have been greatly lessened compared to centuries ago when these children were kept and considered cursed. It is common nowadays to see special children brought out and introduced to society; laws and bills are even passed to protect them from bullying or negligence from primary caregivers and avail certain discounts to basic goods. Governmental frameworks, policies which strengthen to address the needs of persons with disabilities offers re-engineered architectural designs that make life comfortable for them when they walk on the streets or inside public buildings. As support from different sectors of society come pouring in, interest for research on special education, physical, speech and occupational therapy were made accessible to the learning public.
However, in some parts of the world where poverty incidence is higher, children with special needs are likely neglected due to the family’s financial constraints, poor governmental aid or simply because there isn’t much people in the family who give time, attention and love to them. Because of the depraved and carnal hearts that we have, it could be too hard to love the unlovable and unlikely apart from God’s grace flowing in through us. But when we understand that we are but recipients of God’s grace, only then can we truly love and help these children as much as we could. The world has finally acknowledged that these children, no matter how dysfunctional some of their body parts are, or how cognitively challenged they may seem to be, they matter so much because they have lives to live and are as special as their purpose in our lives.
Let us take a look at some passages in the very heart of God which speaks what a treasure they are to Him:
- He sees them as a gift and legacy.
“Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward.” Psalm 127:3
- He embraces them.
“Then little children were brought to Him that He might put his hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:13-14
- He loves them.
“Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 18:10
- He gives them importance as much as he gives to the adults.
“Then a dispute arose among them as to which of them would be greatest. And Jesus perceiving the thought of their heart, took a little child and set him by Him, and said to them, “Whoever receives this little child in My name receives me; and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me. For he who is least among you all will be great.” Luke 9:46-48
- He cares for the needy and helpless.
“Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” James 1:27
- He considers them a delight.
“A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.” John 16:21
- He knows every detail of them for he made them.
“Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.” Psalm 139:16
As special as they are, they have a special purpose in our lives that points us to Who God is. They teach us:
- That God is God.
“…Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the LORD?” Exodus 4:11
- That God is good.
“The LORD is good to all, And His tender mercies are over all His works.” Psalm 145:9
- That God is love so we ought to love.
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” 1 John 4:7
- That God gives us rest.
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
- That God is our provider.
“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
- That God is sovereign.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
- That God is our hope.
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:11
Beyond all the love, proper parenting, education, resources, medical approaches, therapies that we can give these children, no one will care for the child the way God will. Let us put our trust and hope in Him for someday in the new heaven and earth, God will heal all infirmities– the blind will see, the lame will walk, the deaf will hear and the mute will talk. While looking forward towards that beautiful day, there is so much work waiting for us to do here. We are not in heaven yet.