In the busy-ness of my week I nearly missed this post by Vaneetha Rendall Demski at Desiring God, and it is too powerful to miss!
Countless childhood surgeries. Yearlong stints in the hospital. Verbal and physical bullying from classmates. Multiple miscarriages as a young wife. The unexpected death of a child. A debilitating progressive disease. Riveting pain. Betrayal. A husband who leaves.
If it were up to me, I would have written my story differently. Not one of those phrases would be included. Each line represents something hard. Gut wrenching. Life changing.
But now, in retrospect, I wouldn’t erase a single line.
One of the most frustrating, repeated arguments I hear about killing some people – the unborn, the frail elderly, those with disabilities – is that they have no real value. Only productive people have value in that twisted view.
Writing for Bethlehem College and Seminary’s weekly update, Joe Rigney points out that NONE of us has value in ourselves – but we still have real value:
. . . Edwards knows that human sinners, in our quest for autonomy, love to affirm creation from nothing while smuggling in some notion of our own inherent value and worth. Edwards insists in the strongest possible terms that we have nothing apart from God. We have no autonomous or independent value. When it comes to God, we bring nothing of our own to the table. He gives to all things, life and breath and everything else, including value. “What do you have that you did not receive?” Paul asks (1 Cor. 4:7).
At the same time, Edwards does not leave man as a nothing. We may not have any autonomous, intrinsic value, but we do have real value. And we have value because God values us. Our worth is derived wholly from the fact that God makes us and calls us good. Even in our fallen state, we still retain the remnants of God’s image, an image that God is restoring in Christ. What’s more, in Christ God has given himself to us, so that his Holy Spirit now dwells within us and enlivens our thoughts, affections, and actions. Though we are nothing, God has invited us into his own triune life, extending his fullness and glory to us in the gospel.
Joe Rigney, Assistant Professor of Theology and Christian Worldview, Bethlehem College and Seminary
God values us! God makes us! Yes, this is much better news than believing we – or any human being of any size, ethnicity or ability – only have value as long as we are productive.
On a weekly basis members of Bethlehem College and Seminary provide helpful commentary and insights from their disciplines and observations. I highly recommend subscribing to their weekly email, which you can do here.
Pastor John and Pastor Jason do not handle the issue of abortion in a trite way. They bring deadly seriousness to it, appropriate to how we should consider this murderous practice.
Yet, a happy, deep ‘yes’ welled up within me as Pastor Jason reached into his pocket, much as Pastor John had done four years before. You’ll see what I mean in this 3 1/2 minute video:
Symbols have power in our lives, and that little reminder of an unborn baby has had a huge impact on my pastors, and they have a huge impact on me.
So I wonder, if a little model can have that kind of impact, what sort of impact does a real child have on my leaders at my home church?
Actually I don’t wonder about it at all. I know the love and regard my pastors have for my son. I know my son has had an impact on how they think about the little ones who come who are different because of disability.
And I know they won’t even hesitate when asked if their pro-life stand includes unborn babies with disabilities and the ones who will die – in fact, they will up the ante significantly by proclaiming, ‘yes, they are GIFTS!’
May all pastors everywhere say the same about the little image-bearers with disabilities in their churches!
I attacked a giant pile of paperwork over the weekend. Most of it was related to insurance, Social Security, and legal issues. I scanned more than 70 documents and probably filed an equal number – and I like to think I stay organized!
But I did find something fun in all that mess:
I wish I had dated it; it was in the late 1990′s given some other things around it.
My Bible reading must have been in 1 Kings when the thought came to document disease and disability in the Bible. And at the time I missed 2 Kings 5 – one of my favorite chapters on God’s sovereignty over disease!
But it was a start. That crumpled piece of paper eventually turned into a spreadsheet with more than 400 references to disease or disability in more than 300 Bible verses – and I didn’t include 1 Chronicles 26:10. I’ve puzzled many times over many verses!
Don’t believe anyone who tells you God isn’t interested in disability!
I speak now to all who find themselves suffering. I call you to humble yourself under God’s mighty hand. In your suffering, make sure that you think about more than your suffering. Pray that God would draw you near the cross—to see the shocking suffering of the Son of God. God sent his Son into this world of suffering to put an end to all suffering and to save us from eternal suffering. The cross is the supreme sign of God’s care for us.