Encouraging Quotes from “Disability & the Gospel”

In a previous post I expressed appreciation for Michael Beates’ new book, which I received at Desiring God’s recent conference, The Works of God: God’s Good Design in Disability. Beates’ book, Disability and the Gospel, is a very worthwhile read. Here are a few more quotes that encourage biblical thinking in regard to God’s purposes in physical and mental disabilities.

“I have found that a person’s contentment with impairment is directly proportional to the understanding of God and his Word. If a person with a disability is disappointed with God, it can usually be traced to a thin view of the God of the Bible.” [Joni Eareckson Tada, Foreword]

“The Patriarchs, far from being ‘heroes of faith,’ are more often stumbling, weak, and broken people whom God uses in their weakness. When God met Jacob and left him wounded, it was a physical wound that was meant to remind him of his spiritual brokenness. He could no longer feign moral strength as he limped through life with this new physical disability….God intentionally brings woundedness to those he loves. And in fact, those God uses the most he breaks, in some manner, for his sovereign purposes.”

“We are all ‘jars of clay’ (2 Cor 3-4). Some of us have cracks, chips, or imperfections that have in some cases been divinely formed and in others cases, divinely allowed through the processes of trimming, glazing, and firing. We are all the work of God’s hands.”

“In our day in the West, people with disabilities are not left to beg outside religious sites where they might remind people of the brokenness of humanity. Rather, such people are carefully hidden in homes and care facilities, seldom ever gracing temples and churches with their presence…this absence deprives the church of gifts that only those with disability can bring to the body of Christ.”

“While athletic contests in themselves may be innocent exhibitions of strength and agility (just as classical musical symphonies are exhibitions of agility and precision of a different sort), like all good things, the delight in physical excellence in the West ends in its virtual exaltation with the temptation of despising the weak and unable.”

“In declaring our innate inability and God’s supreme ability as the giver of all good gifts, we can gather around us like-minded broken people and like-bodied broken people, together witnessing in a radically countercultural way that when we are weak, he is strong, and then he receives the glory due to him alone.”

“The problem is that when one does not respect life as inherently valuable, as created in God’s image, the ruling ethic for value becomes what a person can do rather than who he or she is.”

“The gospel contrarily seeks to show that while all people have great worth, our individual worth is not intrinsic but extrinsic. It is bestowed on us in our mutual weakness and inability in order to magnify God’s grace and glory. The cultural confusion concerning the value of people should not be a surprise to the Christian community….We can offer dignity and care to all people, affirming their worth as ones who bear the image of God.”

“Historic Christian faith, responsible for the advent of hospitals, has always had that the appropriate, godly, and Christian response to suffering, injury, and deprivation, is to care. Right up to the final seconds of a person’s life, care displays God’s love through the human touch, the human voice to one in need.”

Get your copy of Disability & the Gospel from WTS Books or Amazon.

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