People who are physically limited in mobility because of disability and/or the aging process are oftentimes marginalized by society. It is sad to say it, but even the Christian Church may view the disabled and senior saints as less important and weaker than their able bodied brothers and sisters in the body of Christ. Preachers preach about not being afraid to “get physical” or to “give it your all” in worshiping God by singing out loud, raising your hands, and “dancing for joy” to the Lord. All these things are great for all those who are physically able to do all these outward expressions of worship. But what if you can‘t?
What if you have arthritis in your shoulders? What if you use a wheelchair and can’t “dance all around and jump up and down”? What if, when you try singing, your breathing patterns hinder you from keeping up with everyone else? Does that make your worship of God any less pleasing to God? I say, “NO WAY!” In fact, I believe God is extremely pleased with our quiet, contemplative style of worshiping Him. We can’t “get physical” in our worship, but we do “get spiritual” just as much as our “active” brothers and sisters in Christ and have just as much of a deep connection with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
As Christians with physical limitations (and mobility), The Holy Spirit has blessed us with Spiritual Gifts which know no bounds and have no limits. For instance, God has blessed me with the gift of encourragement, which I use in my writing. Although my physical body is slowing down and I am less able to get around as I used to, God is still using me to encourage others through my blog and is increasing by desire to pray more. II Corinthians 4:16-18 says this:
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, BUT [one of my favorite words in the Bible] what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, BUT what is unseen is eternal.”
So many people ask the question, “Why?”. I have asked that question many times: “Why was I born with cerebral palsy?” “Why did I have to stop being able to walk in my fifties?” Why was 2012 the most horrendous year of my life?” Why is my church of thirty-nine years going through very difficult times and people I love are leaving it?” On and on it goes. I do not know all of the reasons why. I would go crazy trying to find all the answers to “WHY?” Only God knows all the answers. I only know what Jesus says in John 9:3, concerning the man who was born blind: “…BUT this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in His life.” I believe Jesus is saying the same thing to me. I also know that the “works of God” does not always mean physical healing, looking at my own experience and by what Paul testifies in II Corinthians 12:8-10: “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me [whatever “IT” was, “IT” wasn’t good]. 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. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
For all people, disabled and able-bodied, young and old, whoever they may be, “…we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). One of God’s purposes for those who love Him is to get rid of judgmental attitudes and give each of us an “Attitude of Gratitude” to be able to share His compassion and comfort with others: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God” (II Corinthians 1:3-4).
As I already mentioned, my church family is going through a very difficult time, as well as many other churches in my area of New England. Many pastors have left or have been asked to leave due to “irreconcilable differences.” As a result, churches are splitting. It is an extremely heart wrenching time to see dear friends, whom I have known for decades, leaving the church. As a result of this “bad” time, I have found myself praying more, asking the Lord to show me how He sees what is happening in my church and in churches all over New England. I am asking the Lord to use this “bad” time for His glory and for our good; to make the churches stronger beacons of light in a very dark place. To be able to see the “unseen”, through the eyes of faith, while also experiencing the tumult happening all around will take a lot of prayer. I am not able to attend all the church meetings, as I used to, BUT GOD is using my inability to go to increase my ability to stay and pray, not only for my church but for all the churches in New England.
I believe God wants to use all of us to pray for our churches, BUT especially those of us with limited mobility outwardly, to grow inwardly by earnestly praying for the movement of The Holy Spirit to revive His Church in New England again, as in the days of Jonathan Edwards and Dwight L. Moody. I believe that God will do great things because His people who intimately “know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sufferings” (Philippians 3:10) pray. Will you join me in praying for our churches daily?
Your sister in Christ,