Frequently I hear from parents what I have also experienced – that our children with disabilities bring qualities and a sweetness into our lives that we would have never received but for their disabilities. And frequently our children’s disabilities, and the extraordinary difficulties of parenting a child who is different in this culture, are the very means by which God demonstrates his power and mercy in our lives. The promises of God become very precious.
But do we believe every promise is for our children with disabilities, particularly for those children with disabilities that make them very vulnerable and weak?
Consider this familiar passage from Romans 8:35-39.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I love the not-being-separated part, for myself and for my son. I understand about being slaughtered for God’s sake. I love the ‘for I am sure’ part as well. But ‘more than a conqueror’? How can that be for my very small, vulnerable, blind son with autism?
Pastor John answers it for me in Don’t Waste Your Life (pp 96-97):
One biblical answer is that a conqueror defeats his enemy, but one who is more than a conqueror subjugates his enemy. A conqueror nullifies the purpose of his enemy; one who is more than a conqueror makes the enemy serve his own purposes. A conqueror strikes down his foe; one who is more than a conqueror makes his foe his slave.
Practically what does this mean? Let’s use Paul’s own words in 2 Corinthians 4:17: “This slight momentary affliction is preparing [effecting, or working, or bringing about] for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” Here we could say that “affliction” is one of the attacking enemies. What has happened in Paul’s conflict with it? It has certainly not separated him from the love of Christ. But even more, it has been taken captive, so to speak. It has been enslaved and made to serve Paul’s everlasting joy. “Affliction,” the former enemy, is now working for Paul. It is preparing for Paul “an eternal weight of glory.” His enemy is now his slave. He has not only conquered his enemy. He has more than conquered him.
So, my son, who’s days AND disabilities were planned for and implemented by my good and righteous God (Psalm 139:16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.) for his glory – that son has already demonstrated he is more than a conqueror. His disability, the very thing the enemy was using to shipwreck my faith, was the means God used and uses today to bring me to the cross.
Yes, Lord, I believe my boy is more than a conqueror through Jesus. And this sweet, hard-to-hear song in this video takes on a new significance in light of that reality. I imagine heaven rejoices and demons quake when this little boy sings about being in the Lord’s army.