What Would I Say?
--This blog post first appeared in Lauren's personal blog on December 18, 2017--
The question was recently posed, What would you say to someone who asks why their child was born with a deformity or disability? It made me think. As someone who has a disability, how would I answer? The direct answer is that we don’t know. We don’t know why some people have a disability and others don’t. We know that the broad answer is because we are in a fallen world. Genes, biology, and bodies are all broken, tainted by the sin that entered the world from Adam and Eve.
BUT, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us never stop there. The Lord of Life is also the Lord of Hope and the full answer must also include the truth that, with this suffering, there is also great hope. This child may be without that one particular blessing, but still receives innumerable blessings from God, like everyone else. She still receives home, family, love, and joy. This child God provides for and loves, like everyone else. This child is a sinner like everyone else and so too receives God’s grace abundantly.
As someone with a disability, I think in some ways we are blessed even more. It is glaringly obvious that I am weak physically, so it is not such a leap for me to believe that on my own I am weak spiritually, too. I am thankful that my life doesn’t allow for the temptation of complete self-sufficiency. Perhaps at times more than someone without a disability, we know we need help and we know we need hope beyond this life. We receive it in Christ as a gift that will not change or break or fall apart. The contrast between our weakness and His strength, our inability and His unfailing redemption, is perhaps stronger and we praise Him for it. “For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10). That strength is real and by far makes up for any weakness in my body.
What would I say to someone who asks why their child was born with a deformity or disability? I would say, “I don’t know why and I’m sorry for this struggle. I will help in any way I can. And congratulations! What a beautiful, precious child of God – like everyone else!”