Today we take a look at hidden, but very real disabilities.
I am well into my 80’s. So is my wife. Several years ago we got a disabled pass to hang in our car’s windshield. She suffers from PHN (post-herpetic neuralgia), a result of shingles. Having a pass is a must when we dine out, because she can only walk a short distance to the door—and that with my help. When she is not in the car I sometimes use the pass to park the car, because I also have lower back pain and that helps me to avoid walking long distances as well. Nevertheless I find myself feeling guilty, because I actually could get by without it. And yet, why should any of us with so-called hidden disabilities feel guilty about using our passes?
A partial list of hidden disabilities
I went to the Mighty website to discover what people with hidden disabilities tell us. Here, in no particular order, is a partial list of hidden disabilities listed there by folks from around the world, both young and old. They remind all of us to avoid judgments.
- Neuromuscular weakness (lower extremities especially)
- Cardiac issues
- Ehlers Danlos syndrome
- Mental illness
- Degenerative disc
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Herniated discs
- Joint disease.
- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
With the flare-up of my own lower back pain and my wife’s PHN I am learning to giving careful attention to my temptation to judge others without knowing them.
A sober warning from the Jesus, plus some very strong words of encouragement:
“Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” – Luke 6:36-38 ESV
First comes Jesus’ command: Be merciful! Judge not! Condemn not! Then comes His promises: You will not be condemned! You will be forgiven!’
And He gives us these further encouragements: Give and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.
What do these promises mean for us who are tempted to be judgmental?
Several possibilities come to mind;
We who struggle with disabilities will be put in touch with loving, understanding friends and family. They reach out to us, even as we reach out to others.
The more we give back, in spite of our own disabilities, the more we receive, even an abundance pouring over, more than we need or can use.
We will also discover a satisfaction in our hearts. We have helped someone in need. And that feels really great. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you. I love that last word picture. It is like going to the farmer’s market to buy some grain or fruit. The vendor weighs out what you have agreed to buy and then he throws in a little more, just to make sure you have all you need.
That does not necessarily mean our disabilities will go away.
We must not try to bargain with our loving Father. He has allowed these challenges in our lives so that He may draw us closer to Himself. He also, as noted, is teaching us some wonderful lessons: compassion for others and patience, long-suffering, kindness and many other things we all need to learn. Listen again to His Word:
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, –Eph 4:1-2 ESV
In all things give thanks—even for your disability. Learn the lessons, receive the blessings!
- Rejoice always,
- pray without ceasing,
- give thanks in all circumstances;
- for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. – 1Th 5:16-18 ESV