<<disability, disadvantage>>

Handicaps can impair physically, emotionally, mentally, socially or spiritually. Some people are born with defects; others have disabilities because of accidents, while many develop age-related complaints as they get older. Abnormal conditions are not necessarily the result of an individual’s sin, but rather symptomatic of the original sin of rebellion against God (Gen 3:1-19; Jn 9:2). While we only

We decide if the events of life make or destroy us

have a very limited understanding of the spirit realm, some abnormal characteristics can be attributed to evil spirits such as those recorded in the NT, with people being delivered from affliction: the mute speaking after deliverance, the crippled woman released after 18 years of suffering, the blind seeing and the sick made well (Lk 11:14, 13:10-16, 18:41-43; Act 5:16).  These resulted in God being praised (Mt 15:31; Lk 13:13, 18:43; Jn 9:3). We must endeavour to see life from God's perspective, that He desires His character outworked in us through the events of life not our comforts and wants catered too. Whatever happens in this life, it is not for our hurt, but for our ultimate and eternal good (Rom 8:28).

However, God also declares that He "punishes the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation" (Ex 20:5, 34:7). Inherited consequences and genetic weaknesses can manifest in the least guilty persons, and so while there is no simple reason why some people have pronounced handicaps, it is an added incentive to walk uprightly so future generations of our family line are not subject to needless trials in life. So while we don't know the specific reason for these anomalies of life we know everyone is created in God's image and is loved by Him (Gen 1:27; Jn 3:16). In response to Moses' excuse that he couldn't speak well, God declared He did this and then instructs him to do the work assigned him (Ex 4:10-17).

A handicap should not diminish the working of God in and through our lives; rather it can be a visible witness and testimony of the grace of God, with "His power made perfect in weakness" – with Him receiving the glory

Make yourself available to God regardless

(2 Cor 12:7-10). Thus, don’t allow any infirmity or disability to rob you of a close walk with God; in fact, the handicap can cause greater reliance on Him and not human self-sufficiency (2Cor 1:9; Phil 3:3-6). Paul said, God choose the foolish, weak and despised things to nulify the wise, strong things and what humanity considers great so that no one can boast (1 Cor 1:27-29).

Life isn’t fair, yet self-pity must not replace our belief and trust in Him, even if we have a permanent physical disability, which we may view as a cross to bear. Yet take comfort in the words of Jesus who said it is better to live with a disability and end in heaven than be unimpaired and end in hell (Mk 9:43-47). We should see it as a blessing from His loving hand to bring about His purposes. Paul wrote, “In all things God works for the good of those who love Him…What has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel” (Rom 8:28; Phil 1:12-14). “Even though He slay me, yet I will trust in Him” (Job 13:15). Our stance should be that, regardless of what happens, we will remain committed to Him (Dan 3:18). God is totally good so even when things don’t make sense to us, “Trust in Him and don’t rely on [y]our own reasoning” (Prov 3:5,6). Paul was confident that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be ours in heaven (Rom 8:18).

Some physical handicaps, deformities and disabilities can be treated by modern medicine; others must be lived with and endured throughout one’s earthly life. However, sometimes the things we can't change in life end up changing us. Emotional, mental and social issues can largely be addressed through counseling and coming into a correct understanding of our position in Christ as believers,

Address your deformities of character and spirit  

although bitterness, jealousy and un-forgiveness are major blocks that must be addressed. Am I working with the overcoming power of God on the areas of my character that impair, while knowing His grace to sustain me?

The Bible teaches not to curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, rather be eyes for those who can’t see and feet to the lame, speaking out for and defending the needy.  Be considerate of handicapped people, treat them as we would like to be treated if we were in their position because ‘there go I except for the grace of God’ (Lev 19:14; Job 29:15; Prov 31:8; Mt 25:35-45; Lk 6:31; Rom 15:1; Jas 1:27).  People with obvious handicaps are not to be considered second-class and shunned for everybody needs self-esteem and worth in society.  God loves them just as much as people who appear perfect. Jesus said, “I won’t reject anyone who comes to me” (Jn 6:37). Those with physical disabilities are painfully aware of the stigma society often has towards them and how this disadvantages their lives, yet often they have attributes and talents, which are more fully developed than those without such noticeable defects.

Take comfort in the fact that Jesus is not untouched by our handicaps, for from Him, we receive mercy and grace to sustain us daily (Lam 3:23; Heb 4:15,16). Paul prayed to be delivered from an affliction yet the Lord’s answer was, “My grace is sufficient for you”

There will be no disabilities in heaven

(2 Cor 12:9). We all have limitations and blemishes to some degree – some areas where we are less than whole because we live in this sin blighted world. A person can reach heaven with a sick body but a whole heart, but not a whole body and sick heart. Praise God, in heaven there will be no defects or disabilities, all will be completely whole in mind, body and spirit (Rev 21:4).

Any sacrifice offered to God in the OT had to be without defect, and any man with a handicap could not function as a priest (Lev 21:16-23).  God was not discriminating against people with disabilities but rather was impressing on the people that the sacrifice and priests should reflect the perfection and wholeness of God. Through the blood of Christ, we can break free of the spiritual limitations or bondages of sin that hold us back. This calls for determined focus as we rely on the sacrifice of Christ and apply the message of the Bible to our areas of need.

See also: acceptance, cross, disability, discrimination, grace, healing, hereditary, holistic, perspective, self-pity, self-esteem, spirit realm, wholeness, why.