It is not uncommon for parents dealing with the difficulties of disability to stop and wonder, "What went wrong?" And as the enemy would have it, with the wondering of the mind comes the questioning of the soul.
Satan has been turning our answers into questions from the very beginning. (See Genesis 3:1-3)
It seems as if his tactics are the same when disability enters our lives: Was this my fault? Am I being punished for a sin I committed? Did I not pray enough, give enough, go to church enough? Is God angry at me?
These are questions that almost all parents ask, or at least think of asking, at one time or another as the difficult journey through the valley of disability wears away our reasoning and tests our faith.
Only the gospel can give accurate answers:
1. Is this my fault? Be sure of this: disability came into the world through sin. "Therefore just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, so death spread to all men because all sinned." (Romans 5:12). Be sure of this also: All are affected by the sin of Adam, but all are responsible for their own sin. "The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father; nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son." (Ezekiel 18:20). While it is accurate to say that your child's disability is the result of the fall of mankind, it is more accurate to think that everything under that fall is an intricate part of God's plan of redemption for your ultimate good and His ultimate glory!
2. Am I being punished? If you have placed your faith in the work of Christ on the cross, the punishment for all of your sin--past, present and future--has fallen on His shoulders. "But He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace; and by His wounds, we are healed." (Isaiah 53:5) "For our sake, God made Him (Jesus) to be sin, who knew no sin, so that in Him (Jesus) we might become the righteousness of God." (2 Corinthians 5:21) "On the cross, God treated Jesus as if He had lived your life, so that for all eternity He could treat you as if you had lived His." (John MacArthur)
*A better question for believers to ask would be: Am I being disciplined? I have no doubt that our disabled children are given to us as a form of discipline. But remember, discipline is not punishment. Our punishment was taken by Jesus so that we could receive discipline as sons. "For the Lord disciplines the one He loves; and chastises every son whom He receives." (Hebrews 12:6). Discipline is meant to make us into disciples (that is the literal meaning of the word) by God's loving hand of instruction. Our children are agents of this discipleship.
The relentless care of a disabled child can produce some of the greatest emotional, spiritual and physical suffering this world knows. This is a beautiful picture of our sanctification, because while sanctification through suffering is temporarily unpleasant, it is always eternally profitable. God is always doing something when you are caring for your disabled child! "For the moment, all discipline seems painful, rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." (Hebrews 12:11).
3. Did I not do enough to please God? No, you have not done enough. You will never be able to do enough. This is the heart of the gospel. "Without faith it is impossible to please Him." (Hebrews 11:6). You cannot please God in and of yourself because..."All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God..." Therefore you are made right before God--not by doing--but only by trusting. "...and are justified by His grace as a gift through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by His blood to be received by faith." (Romans 3:23-25). Jesus did enough to please God. God is pleased with you as you place your faith in Him. NOTHING else will be sufficient!
4. Is God angry at me? He was, until you repented of your sin and placed your faith in Jesus. But God's anger has nothing to do with the disability of your child; it has everything to do with your own disability of sin. And that disability was dealt with when all of God's anger and all of God's wrath for all of your sin was cast on the shoulders of Jesus--the perfect and spotless sacrifice. That is what the cross is all about. (Remember Isaiah 53:5 and 2 Corinthians 5:21?) "Since, therefore, we have been justified by His blood, much more shall we be saved by Him (Jesus) from the wrath of God." (Romans 5:9). So now, if you are "in Christ", God is not angry with you. Your sin has been dealt with. He loves you as He loves Jesus. He accepts you as He accepts Jesus. He is happy with you as He is happy with Jesus.
"Till on that cross as Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied. For every sin on Him was laid; here in the death of Christ, I live!"
So the next time the enemy comes to you asking questions about disability, turn those questions back into answers from the solid, healing, hopeful truth of the gospel.