Isaiah 35: 6 Then the lame will leap like a deer, And the tongue of the mute will shout for joy.
One of the greatest disappointments that can come to families with children who have disabilities comes when children fail to develop normal communication skills. The ability to communicate was fundamental to life in Isaiah’s time and in ours. Our families learn more than we ever expected about speech and communication therapies and devices, but limited abilities to communicate lead to limited opportunities in every aspect of life. In elementary and middle school years, other children find it next to impossible to be friends with a peer who can’t communicate in typical fashion. Almost inevitably, children with limited communication skills end up shy in social situations.
Our families soon learn that deficits in communication do not imply deficits in love and feeling. Children with disabilities have as much love for others and to build close relationships as everyone else. They may not communicate in typical ways, but they clearly share their emotions with those who have learned to listen to body language and expression rather than focusing exclusively on words. God knows the truth and graciously gives a special promise to individuals with disabilities. Where the Lord reigns, this with mobility impairments will move freely, and those with communication disabilities will should with joy!
The promise in Isaiah isn’t meant to apply only to the next world. The church is meant to be a manifestation of Christ’s world today. As God’s people learn to relate personally and genuinely to those with disabilities, the church becomes a place where they can express joy. Just as Jesus does not view those with disabilities as less worthy of His love and attention, His people are able to treat people with limited communication skills as special. Their presence is not an embarrassment or aggravation to the church, but an opportunity for it to be the church.
Let’s admit that your church and mine don’t completely live up to their job description. It seems we’re living in a world where thing’s don’t fulfill all of God’s expectations for them. At least those with disabilities have a better excuse! What we need to do regularly is talk to the Lord of the church about the way His church is performing and should be performing. I’m looking forward to seeing how He fulfills His promises.