Why does God allow people to be disabled or handicapped?
Speaking of Jesus, Colossians 1:16 says, "For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him." The Bible consistently describes God as all-powerful, all-knowing, and a good and merciful creator. It explains His desire to have a personal relationship with His creation and to work all things out for the good of those who follow Him. If all of this is true, then why does God allow people to be disabled or handicapped?
When God first created the earth and human beings His creation was perfect. However, Adam and Eve chose to disobey God and in doing so brought sin into the world. Through this original sin, evil and brokenness entered the world. When we are born, we are born as sinful beings. Sin is not only evident in our disobedient actions, but also in our physical brokenness. A disability is not God's punishment, but a result of living in a fallen world. While some disabilities can come through poor choices of our parents or ourselves, such as substance abuse or recklessness, others simply develop from our genetic makeup. Ultimately, we are all disabled in some way or another from the way God created us to be.
From a worldly perspective the circumstances of a disabled or handicapped person can seem hopeless. However, from God's outlook it is the complete opposite. Just as sin and death came into the world because of the disobedience of one man, so has sin been conquered and true life given because of the obedience of Jesus (Romans 5:12, 15–17). Those who put their faith in Jesus, regardless of the degree of their handicap or brokenness, can have hope knowing that they will be fully restored when they meet their Creator in heaven. "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away" (Revelation 21:4). Rather than ask God why we or a loved one have a disability or handicap, we should ask Him to reveal to us how we can honor Him through this disability in our lives.
God uses people's brokenness to reveal His glory to mankind. When Jesus healed people it gave evidence of the sovereignty of God. Many people who witnessed these events chose to turn from their sinful ways and follow God. In both the Gospels of Matthew and Mark is the account of Jesus healing a man who was paralyzed. While an onlooker might have only seen the brokenness of his body, Jesus knew that the paralytic man needed the brokenness of his soul healed more than his body. Jesus noted the man's faith in coming to him for healing and said that his sins were forgiven. When the crowd doubted Jesus' ability to forgive sins, Jesus commanded the man to get up and walk, and the man did. Many in the crowd were amazed and glorified God (Matthew 9:1–8, Mark 2:1–12).
In addition, God has a special plan for those who are considered lesser by worldly standards. On our own we are weak and insignificant. However, when we trust God, He is able to work through us. The apostle Paul understood this well. In his second letter to the Corinthians he said, "For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Corinthians 12:10). God has used the weak to accomplish great things in His name, even those with disabilities. The stories of Moses, Mephibosheth, the four lepers at the Aramean camp, and Paul, among others, demonstrate that God not only cares deeply about the disabled, but can also do marvelous works through them.
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