Welcome to our Wednesday “Ask Beau” post. The purpose of this weekly feature is to provide you, our readers, with biblical responses to questions you have about practical issues that you face.
As always, you may submit questions for future “Ask Beau” posts by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by leaving a comment on this post.
(Note: This post was originally published on thefrontieratgrace.com on November 9, 2011.)
I could have stated today’s question more broadly as, “How should I view the various challenges my children face that are likely to be permanent fixtures in their lives?” But that’s not a very concise title, is it?
Parents of children with developmental disabilities of all kinds ask themselves—or should ask themselves—this question. Even parents whose children do not have disabilities could point to unique limitations that their children face, so I trust that my attempt to answer this question will have some applicability to all parents. I hope that you will hear in my remarks the voice of a parent who has first-hand experience in this matter.
In my opinion, one of the most helpful passages in the Bible regarding this issue is somewhat overlooked.
You may remember that God told Moses to lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. You may also remember that Moses wasn’t exactly psyched about the idea, and he wasn’t particularly convinced that he could be successful. One of his objections to God’s proposal was that he was “slow of speech and of tongue” (Exodus 4:10 ESV).
God’s response to Moses was extremely telling: “Then the Lord said to him, ‘Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak’” (Exodus 4:11-12 ESV).
Processing the disability of a child takes time and is personal and delicate. Pat answers to the “Why?” question are hurtful and distasteful. But those of us who have children with disabilities must make room in our theologies for this truth: The disabilities our children face are not a result of cosmic accidents. Quite the contrary. They are somehow, mysteriously, part of God’s unique design for our children.
God will not call all of our children to have a ministry to an entire nation of people, but He has made our children who face disabilities just as they are, just as fearfully and wonderfully as He has any other child (see Psalm 139:14; thanks, Glenn). Realizing this doesn’t provide us as parents with a full-fledged theological resolution to the faith tensions we experience. It does, however, give us a foundation for hope, one that helps us move from bitterness to acceptance, and ultimately, by God’s grace, to thanksgiving.
—Beau StanleyFollow @beaustanley