Whether you love Christianity or abhor it, the title of today’s post might just cause you to sit back and go “huh?”
Let’s face it, most faith’s like to promote all that their God can do and Christianity is no different.
The Gospels, four books focusing on the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, are filled with stories of the lame walking, the blind given sight, and the dead rising from their graves.
The narrative is full of teaching and correction but underneath those lessons rises an unrelenting hope of which these miracles give a taste.
However, even as early as the first chapter of Mark, Jesus is revealed as moving onward to other cities while people who were sick and in need remained in their brokenness while he moved forward.
In other words, sometimes, Jesus left them crippled.
How do you reconcile a God who is proclaimed to be just, who is proclaimed to be loving, who is proclaimed under so many attributes that we equate with pure “goodness” with a God who would leave people in their brokenness?
A lot of it comes down to perspective.
In today’s society we are used to instant gratification. The idea that with a push of button, the dialing of a number, or the sending of a text things will get down. With our instant rewards and results it has become easy to forget that not every event, every desire, and every process can or should be instantaneous.
Instant gratification is wonderful when you’re making coffee but with some things our bodies, hearts, and minds were not designed to take the stress and trauma of instant reward or change. With areas as difficult as change, growth, or in some cases healing, the time it takes for these journeys to unfold is often a necessary part of the process and rushing through steps or even looking for ways to jump ahead can result in devastating effects.
Sometimes, we are left in circumstances due to the consequences of either our own or another’s actions. These situations tend to make people frustrated as words like “personal rights” and “injustice” tend to come into play. All to often, we compliment our lament over these situations by crying out accusations or wounded cries to a God that doesn’t seem present but, again, perspective.
Like children, we often wish to be left alone in our actions, without rules or structure in place that would limit our freedom or threaten our individual control. We fight for our rights. Yet, when things go wrong, we use it as proof that God doesn’t care or exist because how could a loving God let such things happen? Sadly, like children, we haven’t grasped that it can’t be both ways. God is not a toy to control or a machine whose instructions can be modified or inputted whenver our desires change, He is omnipotent and omniscient. It is in his grace that he allows us to reap the consequences of our actions, no matter how painful, for the benefit.
What kind of world would we live in if consequences no longer existed? If death was the only irrevocable outcome would anyone respect one another, would anyone strive to change? Would it be more likely that individuals would be overcome by personal pleasure and that greater injustice would actually exist. Without consequences there is no motive to change, grow, or improve like it or not, humanity simply hasn’t reached a place where we can overcome the defaults to our behaviour without the help of something greater than ourselves.
Another, even less popular aspect to consider, is that sometimes the stories we’ve been given. It also grates upon human sensibilities that, perhaps, we were called to lives which were not free of challenge and pain. Pain is either repulsive or something to be mastered, the idea that it could have purpose in our life’s narratives is foreign to our clean worlds. But, does that discredit the notion? Are health and wellness religions with their cries to have more faith and you shall be healed correct or is there perhaps another way?
. . . and Jesus left them crippled . . .
In some ways, I wish that sentence was actually in scripture. The idea of remaining “less than” is galling in our society. Perfection is our goal, productivity is our mantra.
What if having a disability didn’t mean less than? What if disability was actually a part of the human narrative?
Let’s see if I can make this coherent.
In the older days of less political correctness it was perfectly acceptable to refer to an individual as an invalid.
Look at that word in valid. The very word belies society’s view that to have a disability: emotional, mental , or physical is to be less than, to be lacking in some fundamental human way, to be invalidated in your existence and/or identity as a normal, human being.
Disability, on the other hand, implies a lack of ability, which when we consider in more detail, is something every single human being can admit to possessing.
Yep, I said it, we’re all disabled.
No one is completely self-sufficient in every, single thing. there are always areas in which we need assistance and the support of our communities. It’s how we’re wired, it’s what makes us human.
My disability is physical.
However, I believe, it’s just as much of a disability to be unable to listen to those speaking, not due to deafness of the ears but of the heart.
Yes, formal disabilities may require more help and I applaud the procedures and aids which have been put in place to help those who struggle to find space within a society that strives for average. Don’t get me wrong, I will be equally grateful when the day comes where I don’t have to plan my to-do list around accessible buildings.
But, what would a paradigm shift like this do to those who were suffering?
What would it mean to recognize our innate humanness not as a weakness but as a difference to be embraced?
What would it do to our understanding of God, if disabilities weren’t viewed as God uncaring distance but as a carefully orchestrated plan which we can’t fully comprehend?
How would we change? How would we respond?