This was first printed in a book entitled Hope published by Calvary Church Souderton, PA in 2012. It is edited and reprinted here with permission.
Having worked with people with disabilities for most of my career, and now being married 16 years to Jerry (who was born with cerebral palsy and uses a power wheelchair) one might think that I have a handle on what it’s like to live with disability in the family. Some days I do, but surprises pop up in the most unexpected ways.
Early on one of those surprises was the pace of life – it became so much slower! Things I was able to do in a matter of minutes before could now take closer to an hour; there was no such thing as quick! Just to load in and out of the van adds 15 minutes to anything we do! Spontaneity is really not in our vocabulary. Yet even as the pace of life became slower; the demands on my time and life increased significantly. Essentially I have more things to do in less time. Slower and fuller – what a combination! Disability has been described as a part time job; and sometimes it feels like a job without benefits . . .
But there are benefits, and one of my favorite passages about those benefits is in the Old Testament in the book of Isaiah. Cyrus is the man God has appointed (though Cyrus hasn’t acknowledged God’s role in his life) to lead the children of Israel out of captivity.
Isaiah 45:2-3 I will go before you and will level the mountains I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. (My note – how’s that for making things accessible!) I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.
Treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places. I think it is safe to say that if someone (especially the God of the Universe) offered treasures and riches to us we’d love to accept if there were no strings attached; but there are some strings attached, so to speak. Isaiah tells us those blessings are found in darkness and secret places. Not usually places we willingly go – especially if the path is not well marked or heavily traveled.
I am not saying life affected by disability is all darkness, but there are some tough times; and it’s ok to admit that. There are things that just don’t make sense, yet because God is there and He is the one making the way before us, we know the adventure is not in vain. Don’t miss the last part of verse 3 – God says He give us these treasures and riches in darkness and secret so that we may know that He is God and He is personally and intimately involved in our lives (summoning us by name) whether we are ready to acknowledge that or not.
Can I tell you about one of those days in my life? I had a plan, my plan. I had gotten Jerry up early (which means I was up even earlier); at 4:00 am to be exact, for a 6:30 am breakfast meeting. Once he was out the door at 6:00 I laid back down for 30 more minutes before getting up to have a quiet time and head to the Y. It seemed like a good idea to me, and one that would surely honor God because it included taking care of me both physically and spiritually. . .
Check back here tomorrow for the conclusion.