Now Playing: The Uncomfortable Pastor
I’ve been observing something beautiful on the cruise ship. I am curiously not referring to the scenery we have been enjoying nor the entertainment on the ship itself. It rather involves people.
There is a family on board which I observe to consist of at least the set of parents, a daughter, and a grandmother. Perhaps also a grandfather, but I’m not sure. It is a family which has learned to love in a way most people hope they do not have to.
The daughter is likely in her teens, though it is difficult to tell. She can walk like others do and use her hands. She cannot talk, although at times she does a sort of singing. She does not feed herself, but she eats when her family feeds her, until she wants no more (she knows when that is). She attends a lecture or a concert, but she seems more interested in people coming and going than in what is happening on stage.
One wonders about people like her in the grand scheme of things, in the scheme of God and life and family and society and government.
We had a niece on my wife’s side who was born with what was probably a brain deficiency, though I don’t remember the condition’s name. She was about seven years old when she died. She never walked or spoke or anything else seven-year-olds do, but she was their size.
I had a cousin who was born with another kind of brain deficiency. He never grew to full size, but participated reasonably well on some level in life’s activities. If I remember correctly, he lived to something like fifty years of age.
One wonders about people like these. What is their place?
And as I thought about this, I realized that I had changed. I remembered back to the time when our four children were born (one at a time, of course). We had been informed about some of the many conditions they could have at birth. We were thankful that having been born they were discovered to be “normal.” (I remember counting to see whether they each had ten fingers and ten toes.)
I look at that conclusion now and consider it somewhat cruel or at least crass. We have our ideas of what “normal” is, but to deviate from that measurement is not necessarily to be robbed of value. We think being born “normal” is a relief, but it may make certain kinds of desirable growth more unlikely.
Our cruise ship family did not seem to be embarrassed about their daughter/granddaughter. I was glad to see that. They took her along wherever they went. They fed her as needed. They took care of her in such a way that she was attractive to behold. And on some level she appeared to be enjoying the cruise even though she will never in this life tell someone about it.
This daughter, too, exists for God’s glory. Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them (NIV).” Again, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully make; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Ps. 139:13-14).
Each of us is tested in certain ways, but not always just like someone else is tested. We are summoned to do the will of God. Some make excuses or even blame God and lash out at Him because of the circumstances they face. But it is exactly in my circumstances of life that I need to do His will. It is not an impossible assignment; there is divine help for those who accept the challenge. And some have been beautiful examples.
And in heaven there is the promise of wholeness as defined by Jesus, for all who are there, including me!