This week, I was reading from the book of John, chapter 9. The chapter is about a man who was blind and Jesus healed him. In the 2nd verse, from the Amplified Version, the disciples asked Jesus this question ” Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, causing him to be born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man or his parents sinned, but he was born blind in order that the workings of God should be manifested (displayed and illustrated) in him. I like The Message version of that same text. It reads… “Jesus said, “You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do.
This reminded me of a conversation I had with the President of Joni and Friends, Doug Mazza. Doug’s son Ryan, has profound disabilities and because of those disabilities, Doug became involved with Joni and Friends. God has used Joni Eareckson Tada’s ministry and her staff, to touch millions of lives around the world. Doug shared something with me that brought me to tears…no one had ever said anything like it to me before, but I believe it is a truth that ties in with the scriptures that I shared above. I’d like to share his words with you. I think it applies to all of our children with special needs.
Doug told me, that for every person who is touched because of my son’s life… for every person who finds encouragement and hope… for each person who is drawn closer to God through the sharing of my son's story and experiences… all of those things are counted as eternal rewards for my child. God allowed my son’s disabilities and trials so that Jesus could be displayed through our situation and circumstances. When we can be steadfast in our sufferings… when we can give God praise and glory and cling to our faith… when we can help others with resources, support or compassion because of the things we’ve learned from our children’s disabilities…all of those things will be jewels in our children’s heavenly crowns. We may be the mouth pieces for our children, but they are the living illustrations that teach unconditional love, grace, compassion and mercy.
Jesus knows first hand about suffering. We are told that those who share in His suffering, will also share in His glory. I have no doubt that our children and disabled loved ones will share in that glory. I just want to encourage you today. God wastes nothing in our lives. What the enemy meant for harm, God will use for good. There is always a purpose for the pain He allows to touch our lives. What doesn’t make sense this side of heaven will become clear one day. I can’t help but smile and be excited when I think of all that awaits for those we love when they come face to face with Jesus one day. Not only will they have newly restored bodies and minds, but all they went through in this life will be celebrated, appreciated and rewarded. I don’t know about you, but that makes me eager to see what God can do as He manifests Himself through my child’s disabilities!
Here is a link to Ryan and Doug Mazza’s story and a message at the end of the video from Joni, who shares the same message that Doug shared with me.