Everyone has a mission and purpose

One of the reflections I came across in Our Daily Bread was by Alyson Kieda, who shared about a girl named Jen, who was born without legs and abandoned in the hospital.

Apr 01, 2022

Deacon Dr Leslie Petrus


By Deacon Dr Leslie Petrus
One of the reflections I came across in Our Daily Bread was by Alyson Kieda, who shared about a girl named Jen, who was born without legs and abandoned in the hospital. Yet, Jen says that being put for adoption was a blessing. “I am here because of the people who poured into me.” Her adoptive family helped her to see she was “born like this for a reason.” They raised her to “never say can’t’” and encouraged her in all pursuits — including becoming an accomplished acrobat and aerialist!

Jen’s words “born like this for a reason” reminds me that I am a child of God, created in the image of God, to know, love and serve Him. I was made for a reason — to worship Him. God created me and people like Jen for a reason. In the Bible, God used those who seemed incapable for their calling. Moses is a classic example. When God called him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, he stammered (Exodus 3:11; 4:1) and protested, “I am slow of speech and tongue.” God replied, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes the deaf and mute? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go, I will help you speak and will teach you what to say (Ex.4: 10-15).

Many parents of special needs children may have thought that it was sin in them that caused their children to be born this way. They may have carried this guilt for years, but they can take courage from the words of Jesus in John 9: 1-3 … As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him.”

Every parent prays for a normal and healthy child. The birth of a child is a symbol of hope and joy but to some, this is not so — it is something unexplainable. The whole scenario changes when they are, instead, ‘blessed’ with a special child who may never become independent but will be forever be dependent on the parents, even for their basic needs.

In Mark 7:24-30, we see the faith of the Syrophoenician woman. She was desperate for her child to be healed that she was willing to be treated like a dog. This could also be the desperation that some of the parents of ‘special needs children’ experience day in and day out. There are some parents who are driven to abandon their child and it is sad. But the parents who persevere, who do all that is humanly possible, who make innumerable sacrifices which, at the end of the day may still not be enough, they blame themselves for it. I have met parents who devised special equipment and tried everything possible to help their child achieve basic living skills. The progress is difficult to quantify and no one will ever know the effort invested. There will be mistakes and wrong moves. The parents have to endure insults and ‘unwelcome’ advice.

Some parents of a special needs child are exhausted. The mother’s gaze is filled with both love and anxiety as she contemplates her child’s future with hopelessness. When young, they have the energy to cope, but as they age and are beset with their own health issues, they feel defeated. The husband/father may display strength and stability but at the core of him, he too feels he has failed. What dreams and hopes they must have had when they first met and fell in love, had plans for how their family would be but then, along came this ‘special’ child and everything shattered.

Every human being is created in the image of God, with a mission and purpose. These children are here for a reason and a purpose, not for themselves but for their parents, a divine purpose and reason.

God graciously helps us along the way. Jesus never promised us that there would not be potholes and bumps in the path of life but He promised that He would walk with us. The destination is guaranteed for parents of these special children who enable their ordinary parents to live extraordinary lives.

There is something special about parents with special needs children. They reflect grace, compassion and humility. The years of caring for their special children indirectly makes them saints and makes God present to others. The paradox is that they do not realise it. Is this not what Jesus answered in John 9: 3? “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him.” I rest my case. Nothing more. God has the last word on this issue.

(Deacon Dr Leslie Petrus has a keen interest in exploring life’s issues and witnessing the presence of God.)

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