2 Samuel 9, Psalms 63
I had only seen this boy less than a dozen times my entire 4 years of High School. I remember our first encounter vividly because he had a bright smile on his face, which detracted from his awkward walking tempo. He would drag his crooked right foot behind his body and both knees never fully locked into place. I learned later that this boy was a Christian, which explained his bright smile and cheerful demeanor. This boy, who I came to know three months before graduation as John, had endured six surgeries since birth to help minimize the effects of his muscular disease - Cerebral Palsy. John's most invasive, yet beneficial surgery, included the removal of three vertebrates from his lower spine.
Tonight I asked my husband to share openly about how people with disabilities are viewed in society and what Christian’s can do to love them more like Christ. John responded by saying that,
“...we’re all people longing to be accepted for who we are. In our lives, the first thing people notice is the disability and it turns people off from knowing who we are inside – what are our hopes, dreams, fears, etc. My disability does not define who I am, it may limit certain dreams, but God can overcome my disability. When I was a little boy and on into my teens, I dreamed about having a wife and children, but did not have the faith to believe that God could fulfill my longing. Now, I am blessed to share my life with not only a wife of 5 years, but I am a father of two wonderful little boys. My disability was used by God to shape who I have become. Much like Paul, my constant pain keeps me from becoming prideful and reminds me where my true strength belongs. I daily ask God to free me from the pain - some days the answer is a temporary "yes", other days the answer is "no".
If I had not been born with C.P. I would not have needed the Lord’s strength to sustain me through the trials of this life. It is also through the pain that I am reminded that this world is not my home -- thank goodness! Soon I will be in a place void of spastic pain and disease. I’m looking forward to running and jumping with a perfect body – much like the bodies of my kids! I will say, I am grateful to those around me who got past my disability and accept me for who I am. I don’t think people with disabilities are the only people struggling to be accepted, in our society that values perfection, we all fall short, and have a deep God given need to be accepted and loved. This acceptance is available to all – it was fulfilled in the blood of Jesus Christ. Jesus overcame so we can overcome.”
David’s acceptance of Mephibosheth’s disability showed Israel that God values life – even the life of the disabled. I love how David did not just provide for Mephibosheth’s physical need; the Bible says that he met his aloneness need as well. Mephibosheth was invited to dine nightly at David’s table; he was treated with dignity and equality (vs. 7). In a society where we value “perfection”, it is import to remember that God is the creator of life and that all people are “disabled” in one way or another – it’s just that some disability’s are easier to hide.