Challenging believers in Jesus to think and act based on Bible truth.

Think and Act 7.22.15 – If There Were No Special Needs

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Yes, my wife and I parent an almost five year old special needs daughter. No, I don’t intend to address that in this post.

The challenge for this post lies in the positive impact special needs individuals bring in life. To think this through and act on it will prove worthwhile, I hope, to any potential reader.

It really bothers me that doctors tell couples to abort children who will have disabilities from birth, or may have disabilities from birth. This type of counsel seeks to bring about a society devoid of many types of problems, saving both families and professionals much extra “effort” and “inconvenience”.

So, think on this. If there were no special needs . . .

1. We would have an unrealistic view of life.

Special needs individuals remind us that life is broken. For them, it’s broken in different ways. Special needs brokenness includes genetic, medical, tragic, and disease related complications. Often, special needs individuals experience life long consequences of the decisions of others. For some, NOTHING could prevent their condition.

Every single human experiences brokenness. Scripture teaches of our existence in a fallen world, marred by sin’s consequences. The reality of life’s difficulty can at times prove very brutal. The very visible way in which special needs individuals experience brokenness should provide powerful reminders that perfection eludes us all.

2. Many people’s gifts would end up wasted.

I am overwhelmed at times at the variety of gifts both professionals and total strangers possess in dealing with special needs individuals. If we eliminated the needs by eliminating the people beset by them, the gifts of those empowered to care for the broken would go to waste. What sense would that make?

The many professionals involved in our daughter’s development feel like family. Their care, patience, and determination offer so much encouragement to us and others as we see her development.

Just when I think our special needs daughter is annoying someone in a public place, my over-protectiveness of others’ space is replaced by the joy they find in relating to her. Often this includes a story of their own experiences with special needs individuals.

3. Blessings would evaporate.

A while ago I took our daughter to Summit Mall. On our way out, we went past a disabled man in a wheel chair offering free samples. Now, our daughter doesn’t meet much food she doesn’t like, so her immediate interest didn’t exactly surprise me. But the blessing went way beyond something for the belly (for free!).

The blessing belonged to the man. Although our daughter can’t talk, she immediately sensed he had needs. He smiled knowing she related to his condition. The blessing belonged to me as well, knowing how much she cares for others struggling with limitations.

Or how about these “feel good” stories where pro athletes care about sick kids, visiting children’s hospitals or granting their wishes? If eliminating the needs was the goal, these types of stories wouldn’t make us feel good at all. They would sicken us over our inability to eliminate the disability.

Surely you could add your own stories about how someone in your life or upbringing with special needs added value the lives of those around them.

 

Think. Do “feel good” stories like this prove to us that the essence of life and personhood lie in a concept much larger than outward “normality”?

Act. Affirm life in any way you can. Encourage those working or living with special needs, and open yourself to the encouragement the humanity of special needs individuals can bring.

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