It is a great comfort to know that God is for us and that we are never alone in our struggles:
Behold, God is my helper;
the Lord is the upholder of my life.
(Psalm 54:4 ESV)
God is also merciful to bring people into our lives. We’ve experienced that many times, at just the right time.
Desiring God’s disability conference brought numerous opportunities for even more encouragement. Here are just a few of the examples of God moving:
- Two seminary professors are developing a doctor of ministry course on disability, the Bible and suffering to complement the undergraduate and master’s level courses they have already created and delivered. Another man I know and respect indicated his interest in doing the same at the doctoral level. Slowly but steadily, liberal seminaries no longer ‘own’ this issue exclusively.
- Two men from Joni & Friends International told me about a new international effort they are initiating for pastors in 18 countries.
- The exhibitors at the conference were swamped all day (frequently that isn’t the case when they exhibit!). Two exhibitors indicated the questions had a qualitative difference from the usual conferences they attend. Normally, people are interested in how to introduce the programs they provide. These two exhibitors said they received questions about how to address the culture of their churches in positive ways. That’s a wonderful and important change we need to encourage in this movement.
- I met a pastor of a church of 12 (that’s correct – 12, not 120 or 1,200) who fathers a disabled child. I was encouraged just to be in his presence!
- I heard more stories of the so-called ‘weaker’ member changing families and churches for the better than I can remember.
- The suffering is real, and for some people there is still not even a hint of joy. We must persevere in prayer and acts of love for those who do not yet see God’s help and goodness in all things.
- Stories help. The kindness and perseverance of Karl and Gerilyn Kanowitz in our lives has spread. Bread and soap (not soup) makes a difference (see page 36 in the ebook Disability and the Sovereign Goodness of God for what that means).
I could go on!
Krista Horning touched on one of Satan’s greatest lies in her speech – that we are entirely alone and nobody cares. God is always with us and cares more deeply about us than we can comprehend. The gathering on Thursday introduced me to a lot more of what God is doing through and for his people.
Let us pray for exponential growth, wisdom and love in our local churches for the sake of all those who feel alone and abandoned because of disability. There is still so much to do and so many who do not know the God who made them for a great purpose. May God help us proclaim who he is!
I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love,
because you have seen my affliction;
you have known the distress of my soul. . .
(Psalm 31:7 ESV)