Reading the April 7th post, will give you background to understand this one. While the first addressed a general audience, this post engages more specific Christian themes.
Though I survived and have a success story to tell, about 4,500 preborn American children are killed each day for reasons of convenience and personal gain. If anyone thinks my life is not worth living because I am blind or some other physically challenged person is worth less because of their so-called "abnormalities," or that unborn children are any less human simply because they can't be seen in the womb; let me remind him that all human life is created by, and precious to, God Almighty.
Remembering this motivated my wife and I to spend about fifteen of the early years of our marriage as leaders in the local and state pro-life movement. We served preborn children and their mothers through our educational, counseling, and demonstration activities. By observing leaders and people of all faiths, vocations, and backgrounds, we gained insights into the declining spiritual and moral climate of our nation. Accepting the devaluing of human life in the womb has led to a slippery slope of devaluing and perverting of relationships, marriage, and the very truth of God which holds society together.
I was struck this week by some verses in Psalm 49 which say, " This is the fate of those who trust in themselves, and of their followers, who approve their sayings. They are like sheep and are destined to die; death will be their shepherd" (Psalm 49:13-14). By welcoming a casual approach to death for the unborn, a "spirit of death" shepherds (governs, influences, sets the tone for) other destructive behaviors. By individuals or societies "trusting in themselves" (making their own rules with no regard for God's), they open gates to belief systems and practices which lead to injury, disability, and destruction. Following a destructive path leads to destruction. Following God (as the good shepherd) leads to righteousness (Psalm 23).
To reverse the disabling trends in our society is a daunting task. It is beyond the scope and ability of any single institution or leader to turn our nation's people back to God in repentance and restoration. While recognizing there is much outside the realm of my individual ability to change, I must remember that I can change myself from the inside out. By keeping God's great mercy in view, I can trust Him to renew my mind so as not to conform or be swallowed up by the "world system" (Romans 12:1,2). My Christian faith determines my world view. As a faithful servant of Jesus Christ, I try to emulate his character. I want to consider important what he considers important, pray for the same things he is now interceding for, respond to evil the way he would respond, display righteous anger the way he did, show compassion in the way he loved even the unlovely, expose the hearts of the foolish the way he did, and reduce religious works down to the motives of the heart, just as Jesus exposed pharisaical pride and injustice.
Common ordinary Christians rising up in unity to obey our Lord in word and deed is what it will take to demonstrate the Kingdom of God and transform our communities. The book of Proverbs gives a direct and sobering command in chapter 24, "Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, 'But we knew nothing about this,' does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done" (Proverbs 24:11-12)? Each person has God-given gifts and abilities valuable to the success of the community as a whole. God has placed each person in the community for a purpose. Whatever our role, whatever our sphere, we all must admit that we could be doing more to breathe life into dying souls and to uphold God's standard in order to revive dying parts of our humanity.
Moses is one of my favorite examples of disability being discussed in Scripture. Exodus chapter 4 says, "Moses said to the LORD, "O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue. The LORD said to him, "Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say" (Ex 4:10). This records many excuses that Moses gave to God before he finally obeyed His calling to lead the people out of Egypt. Moses understood how difficult a task it would be so he tried hard to get out of it. But God kept reminding Moses how great a God He is. Even though Moses thought that he was not articulate enough, God still called him. Even deafness or muteness is a condition that God can overcome. Even blindness is given to some, while others are given eyes to see.
In whatever circumstances we may find ourselves, God is more than big enough to, not only deliver us, but also use us to help deliver others. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." May God give us the same attitude the apostle Paul expressed above about his weaknesses. Our shortcomings do not threaten God's purposes from being accomplished. Our willingness to cooperate with Him, however, is essential in receiving the blessings He gives to those who walk in obedience to Him.
Living a God-centered life is the best way to remove the "dis" from disability and focus on ability through Christ Jesus.
Note: The book Escaping the Pain of Offense: Empowered to Forgive from the Heart discusses themes of dealing with disappointments, offense and finding freedom in forgiveness. This book is designed to help people (especially in the Christian faith) to discover and dislodge things in life that lead to defeat. Don't miss out on your chance to use this book as a helpful tool in discovering Refuge in Christ. It can be purchased by clicking here: http://bluerockbnb.com/healing/book_main.htm . If you get anywhere near Pennsylvania for vacation or on business, be sure to look us up for lodging at http://bluerockbnb.com
by Ed Hersh, Blue Rock BnB Healing Ministry