Our Bible verse for today: “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?” Exodus 4:11 (NIV)
Our thought for today: “People with disabilities love life too.”
Linda and I have a daughter named Tracy. She was born with cerebral palsy, a seizure disorder, and mild mental retardation. Because of the cerebral palsy, she has always walked with a noticeable limp on her left side and she has never had more than 10% use of her left arm and hand. Because of the seizures, she has always had to wear a protective helmet to guard against injury to her head and face and she has always had to take large amounts of medicine in an attempt to control the seizures. But even still, the seizures have often resulted in injuries including broken bones, gashes requiring stitches, missing teeth, and a broken jaw.
As a result of the mental retardation, her intellectual capacity is that of perhaps a first grader, and her emotional development is that of a ten-year-old child. Tracy is now forty-nine and she has done her best to have as normal a life as possible under the circumstances as they are. But she has never been able to drive a car, or count money, or use a stove, or go to the store by herself, or get married, or have a baby, or a thousand other things that most people can easily do and consequently take for granted.
Over more than four decades of raising and caring for Tracy I’ve often wondered why God allowed her to be born this way. And she’s not the only one. There are many millions of people in our world today in Tracy’s situation – born with some major disability that limits their quality of life in significant ways. Do such lives matter? Do they matter as much as yours and mine? They sure do! And I’m saying that based upon four decades of personal experience of loving and caring for a disabled person.
In the days to come I’ll tell you more about why I believe such lives matter, and how it is that those people have a rich and full life too. But for today I will end by telling you that for those of you who know Tracy, you know that she is a very sweet person who is kind and caring, always looking for ways to bless and encourage others, and she is a fun person to be with. Remember the little girl with Down’s Syndrome from yesterday’s devotional? Remember her spunk and uninhibited personality? Hello Tracy! Tracy doesn’t actually have Down’s Syndrome like that little girl does, but she is full of spunk and good humor, she is sweet and funny, she loves Jesus and she loves people and she loves life.
If you spend time with people in the special needs community, you’ll discover that to be very common attitude. They love life too. We’ll explore this thought more tomorrow.