After a sermon as powerful as the one that Pastor John Piper preached two weeks ago on Sunday...a sermon that shared God's truth about disability...I wondered...
Pastor John asked each of us to "starting seeing disability.." There are days when I feel like every one sees us..they may not know what to say...but they see us. Then there are days when I wonder how a train of wheelchairs, children of all different ages and ethnicities would not draw attention...sometimes we are not seen...even though we are hard to avoid.
My Church is filled with people with hearts that are sensitive to the suffering, the lost, the different. I don't question for a moment the sincerity of my fellow believers at Bethlehem Baptist Church. What I see is that people just don't know what to say. They are afraid to offend and in that fear, we are avoided. I understand that. I get it. But, what I want you to know is that your effort, no matter how feeble an effort you feel it is, is appreciated beyond what you may never know.
Yesterday, there was a different feel at Church. More smiles, more acknowledgement, a door held open, an introduction. We meet two families that we had not met before...they came up to us. We aren't very movable at Church and so often we stay planted where we find a seat. And when the service is done, we rush to collect children who often get distressed if we do not pick them up right away...stacking children on top of laps that are sitting in wheelchairs. It is quite a sight.
I held back the tears the whole morning. Each time I opened my mouth to sing, the tears poured. My sweet baby Isaac was bathed in my tears as I held him during the service. The tears were of profound joy. My children give us such joy. I love to see God use them for his glory, his good. He has changed my life through my broken children...and I know that He wants to change so many other lives through them. The reaching out, as simple as a smile, touched me so profoundly. The ache of my heart I have felt because my kids have sat so silently, been avoided so often because others were afraid to say something that would come out wrong...that pain was lifted for a morning.
My tears flowed from such helpless joy that I can worship with such precious people who want to acknowledge and show love to those who struggle, who are weak, who are disabled...like me...and my children. I want our life to be a testimony of God's goodness, of his creation...Yes, my children are created in His image also.
And in the midst of the morning, it was McKenna who shared such profound and simple words that filled me with peace...it is truly the least of these who have so much to teach us. She had spent time in Sunday school crying for her brother, Elijah. She knows the reality of his health condition..she understands that he could die. She often sobs at the thought. She prayed with a dear friend in the hallway, and a Pastor after the service. I didn't take her up to the Pastor this morning and try and apologize that she was asking for his time..like I have in the past. I didn't interpret for her in an effort to ease his possible discomfort of speaking with her...I just let her do what she needed to do and ask for prayer.
As she left the building, she said confidently, and without fear, "God is the only one who knows what is going to happen with Elijah. And He will do what is best for Him."
"God will do what is best for Elijah...whether that means He will take him to heaven or if Elijah will stay with us on this earth." She said.
How simple. How powerful. How profound. Out of the mouth of my disabled and precious daughter.
God certainly will do what is best for us...not what is easy, or convenient...but it will be the best for us. Just what I needed to hear...thanks for teaching me, McKenna.