In loo of the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as some awkward sermons from well-intentioned charismatic Christians, I thought I might lay out some truths that God has revealed to me over the past 27 years. When I wrote this, it was insanely long, so I decided I will post it in two parts, for your reading convenience – so come back tomorrow for part 2!
- God will do what he wants, and he does not need to explain, apologize, or get our permission to do so. It sounds harsh, but it is so true, and because it is true it can be a comfort. His ways are not my ways, and his thoughts are higher than mine. He does not need to give me reasons why my muscles are weak; he knows the reasons and will accomplish his will through it. I am so thankful that God is God and doesn’t need me to direct or manage him or hold him accountable. He is always good, and I can always trust him.
- Prayer and faith are not a guarenteed recipe for us to get what we want. Another hard truth. Donald Miller has said that there is no formula for how to come to Jesus, and if you think you have discovered one, you don’t really know Jesus at all. I get tired of hearing people say, “Just pray! Just have faith!” I do! I do pray, and I do have faith that I hope has grown a little bigger than a mustard seed… but in praying, I have heard God assure me of the purpose he has for my life in this chair. In cultivating faith, I have learned to trust him even when I don’t understand, and to have joy even in suffering. If anything, prayer and faith have brought me to a place of contentment and peace in this gift (yes, I just called it a gift) God has given me.
- I have been healed. Does that shock any of you? If it does, my parents can give testimony to its truth. I have been in the hospital many times, my life in the balance, and God chose each and every time to save me and restore my health and strength. The doctors have been amazed more than once by remarkable – miraculous - recoveries. Don’t overlook the fact that my life has been spared over and over again.
- One day I will walk. Another shocker? Well, I have this promise that in heaven, there will be no more pain or sickness. I don’t even think I will have the weight of gravity to hold me back – I will walk and jump and run and dance and surf (hey, why not?) better than anyone on earth ever could, in my brand new, god-like perfect body! Why desire to settle for anything less in a mortal body?
- Sometimes, the things we think are important or necessary are not the same things that God considers important or necessary. I see this in the story in Acts 3 of the man at Solomon’s Colonade, who had been crippled since birth, and all he was asking for was money. In his case, God did not consider money to be his problem – his weakness was. In my life, I don’t think God sees my disability as the main problem, or physical healing as the main solution. If I waste my life begging for my muscles to be strong, I will completely miss out on the ways he does want to bless me.