Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature. 1 Corinthians 14:20
The Desiring God National Conference, Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God, begins today (Friday). Other than the conference on suffering in 2005, this may be the conference I have been most anticipating.
This is an incredibly important topic for those of us dealing with disability:
- In our daily lives we have more people and processes than most of us can count involved in the medical, educational and legal lives of our children. Right now I have paperwork to deal with for Paul’s schooling. There’s another pile that deals with his medical care. The decisions we make for our children are frequently difficult and potentially life-changing or even life-threatening.
- In our universities and colleges, professors are making arguments to packed lecture halls against the very survival of our children with disabilities.
- Liberal theologians in seminaries do not take the Bible seriously, stripping God of his rightful place as sovereign over the universe, and removing any hope of the future grace God has promised.
- Our pleasure-loving culture wants nothing to do with the sacrifices and suffering inherent with disability. Removing the problem, whether an unborn child with Down syndrome or an elderly person with dementia, is preferable than serving in love to the end.
- There are those who want to trap us parents in a box of sentimentality, as if the love we have for our children disqualifies us from objective engagement with the world.
- We are ‘heros’ and our children are ‘angels’ – and the real hardships we face are minimized or ignored.
Yes, it can feel as though we are surrounded by experts and educators and specialists and colleagues and even extended family members who ‘know’ what our experience is or will be when disability enters our lives. They are more than happy to do our thinking for us.
We cannot let them. They are not God.
And we have two significant advantages:
First, we can live in the knowledge that we have been given sure promises, secured by the very life and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Our perceptions, or anybody else’s, about disability pale in comparison to the reality and certainty of the promises of God.
Second, even if we do not have the credentials or the giftings to counter evil arguments, especially those against our children with disabilities, God will hold people accountable and will judge rightly:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. Romans 1:18-20
So, we can live free to engage this world with our hearts and our minds, knowing God will help us even as he reigns perfectly over it. We can be unafraid to call evil what it is, no matter the pretty package or academic language that is attached to it.
And that freedom we have in God includes the opportunity, unlike those trapped without a savior in Jesus or a helper in the Holy Spirit, for God to help us think clearly and joyfully, full of hope even in the middle of the extraordinary circumstances of this evil age.
And I want to learn how to do that better. Which is why I’m excited about what I might experience at the conference this weekend.