Sunday, June 15, 2008

Disabled Child

David was now king. However, years ago he made a promise with Jonathon. David promised that he would always keep a covenant with Jonathon and his family.

David could have ignored this covenant. Jonathon was dead. David didn’t even know of any of his survivors. David’s advisers summoned Ziba, a former servant of Saul, to locate a survivor of Jonathon. Ziba told them that one of Jonathon’s sons was alive, but he was crippled.

This “but” in the story cuts me to the core. As the parent of a medically fragile child who still struggles with walking, jumping and running even though she is almost three, I cringe beyond belief when I read or hear of someone implying that she is less than anyone else because of a physical disability. Whenever a doctor explains some unique trait of hers (like the third, necrotic kidney we just discovered attached to her left kidney) as a “birth defect,” I want to scream. I used to cry when doctors told me that Catherine had a birth defect. Now I simply ask them to call it a “birth anomaly.” They usually get my point.

How can you imply that God made a “defective” child? Catherine is not “defective.” God wanted her to be this way, for His glory. If God wanted Catherine to have a perfect body, He would have given her one.

Most everyone I know and have met actually show Catherine tons of grace and love. Most people are amazed at the tenacity and tolerance she continuously shows. Her toughness is one of her greatest qualities. Most people recognize that and appreciate that.

Only rarely do we encounter prejudice because of her “disability.” I recently had someone tell me that we should have terminated her in the womb. Yet I know that a few decades ago she would have experienced a great deal of prejudice and shame because of her physical body.

If I didn’t like David before I read this chapter, I do now. David sent his men to go get Jonathon’s son (named Mephibosheth) and gave him a place at the royal table in the palace. Not because of anything Mephibosheth had done, but because David made a promise to Jonathon.

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