So, I have a friend, more like a sister really, who was born with a disability (I won’t mention any names, but she works here…). I have been with her more than one time in a conversation with a pregnant woman when said woman was asked what gender of baby she was hoping to have. And the answer given was something along this line, “Either one, as long as its healthy.” My friend visibly cringes. Well, you might not see it, she’s learned to cover it well, but I do. And the answer (which I very well may have given myself a time or two while expecting) makes me cringe now too.
The answer begs two questions –
1. What does that mean – healthy? Like perfect, you mean? All fingers, all toes, no internal deformities, IQ in the above-average-to-superior range? ‘Cuz my friend doesn’t have every one of those things, and you’d be hard-pressed to say she isn’t healthy.
And 2. So, what if it is not? Then what? You don’t want it? You will be angry at God? Maybe, I suppose, for a while. Will you throw it away? Some would – I’ve seen it.
See, my dear friend has told me emphatically that she wouldn’t want to change her disability even if she could. But maybe her mother would have, at least at first. That’s who we’re talking about really anyway, right? The mothers and fathers – and the loss of their dream baby? But then again, maybe they wouldn’t. My amazing friend wouldn’t be who she is today if she had been born with all her fingers. And we would all be the poorer for it.
So then, what is the right answer? I would propose that a biblicaly informed answer would be, “Any baby at all – just as long as God is glorified in his or her life.”
That’s what Jesus tells us in John 9, isn’t it? That people are born with disabilities so that the works of God might be displayed in them. Not necessarily in their healing, as we might suppose from the story’s unfolding, but in their life, however He chooses to have them live that out.
If you’d like to read more godly insight on being born with a disability, I recommend John Knight’s blog, “The Works of God.” John works for Desiring God Ministries.