Judging by the title of the book, one can gather that the subject of When Disability Hits Home probably has something to do with how to process the occurrence of disability either in our own life or in the life of a loved one. Judging by the authorship of this book, it is certain to be more than a simple, theoretical exploration of the subject. Disability has touched the lives of both Paul and Joni. Paul has multiple children who have disabilities, and Joni has experienced her own disabilities firsthand. The truths of Scripture they present are ones they themselves have had to cling to in the face of perplexing questions and humbling challenges that result from the implications of disabilities.
The subtitle of the book underscores its thesis, namely that we must think about disability within the broader context of God’s purpose for it, which is to magnify His grace in our weakness and suffering. Tautges begins to lay the groundwork for this concept in the first four chapters of the book. He answers four perplexing questions that are likely to arise in the hearts of those whose lives are touched by disability. Building on this foundation, the fifth chapter drives home the assertion that human weakness in general, and disability in particular, are part of God’s plan to glorify Himself and to bless His people. The sixth and final chapter addresses how local churches can best serve the disabled among them through a biblical philosophy of ministry. Each chapter of the book ends with a contribution from Joni that provides a warm and tangible reflection on the implications of what Paul has expounded in that chapter. A study and discussion guide included at the end of the book serves as an aid to individuals and groups to probe further into Scripture’s teaching as it relates to the content explored in each chapter.
One of my favorite qualities of the book is its consistent, faithful exposition of Scripture. From beginning to end, Tautges moves from one biblical text to the next as he demonstrates the authority and sufficiency of the Bible to properly shape how we view disability. For example, his chapter on ministry to the disabled in the local church is essentially an exposition of 1 Corinthians 12:12-26 with specific implications for disability ministry fleshed out. This book demonstrates that the “secret” to processing the occurrence of disability in our own lives or in the lives of those around us is to understand it from God’s perspective as it is revealed in His Word.
Another great strength of the book is its clear distinction between a man-centered view of disability and a God-centered one. Paul interacts with the work of one particular author who has projected her own experience of disability onto God, ultimately conceiving of a disabled god. Tautges discerns that this author has formulated a god in her own image. Against the backdrop of this man-centered view of disability, Paul compels his readers to embrace a God-centered view derived from the Word of God. The argument for this God-centered view, broadly speaking, is based on the Apostle Paul’s assertion in Romans 11:36 that all things are from God, through God, and to God. Thus, all things come from the providence of God, they all exist through Him, and they all exist to His glory, including disability.
A final highlight of this work is that it faithfully heralds the gospel of Jesus Christ. Tautges observes that, as a result of man’s fall into sin, all people have less than perfect vision, hearing, and cognitive capabilities. But the corrupt spiritual nature of man proves to be his most severe and deep-seated disability. Thus, the greatest need for every person, whether physically able or disabled, is for the grace of God to overcome their spiritual disability and to lead them to salvation in Jesus Christ.
I eagerly commend this book to anyone who wants to grow in their understanding of how to think biblically about disabilities.
*This post is one reader’s Amazon review of the book, used by permission.