People with Special Needs
Dr. Valson Abraham
Regularly, all of us see and meet people with special needs. Maybe you have such people in your family. Maybe you even see yourself as one of those in need.
Often, when we come into contact with such people, we become uncomfortable. We do not know how to react to those unable to care for themselves. Automatically, we turn our eyes and pretend not to see them. Often, we do not know how to speak to them. Sometimes, we speak them in a condescending or mean manner without realizing what we are doing. We are at a loss as to what to do. If we are honest with ourselves, we may even wonder if such people are inferior to the rest of us who do not suffer these handicaps.
Commonly, people wonder why these people have such unfortunate lives. Is it because of a bad fate? Do such people have bad karma? Did they sin in a previous life, or even in the womb before they were born? Did their parents commit some sin or sins? Some families believe such people bring shame upon them, and they hide them away, often for years at a time.
Such questions troubled the people of Jesus’ day, and His answer is concise: such people are not the result of bad karma or sinful families, but so the works of God may be shown in them (John 9).
In other words, these needy people are not in any way inferior for their helplessness. They are still made in the image of God, just as we are. In fact, they have a special purpose in the eyes of God.
It is imperative for us to find out what that purpose is, otherwise it is we who come under God’s judgment, not they, for judging another person whom God has made and loved. Jesus continues to say that His purpose is to manifest the works of God’s grace while He has time on this earth. His time is short, and He must work those works of God in the short time allotted to Him. Jesus’ message to His disciples comes down to us: we are to avoid the pointless philosophical discussions of why people are the way they are and get busy to help them, guided by God so that we may become avenues of His grace.
I heard this story about a farm boy and his father:
“Daddy,” a boy said, “the cows are in the cornfield! How did they get there?”
“Son,” the father said, “never mind how they got in, we must hurry and get them out!”
Every needy person is an opportunity to manifest the works of God in that person, to show the compassion and love of Christ, to work a miracle of healing, to give help to the helpless, to give words and deeds of comfort, to glorify God in the process. No need is so great, or handicap so marked that God cannot work in and through us.
Already, many of our graduates from India Bible College and Seminary and other institutions work among the blind, deaf, mentally challenged, lepers, prostitutes, street children, child workers, widows and orphans, and others. Through their ministries, they are being blessed even as they are glorifying God and blessing others.
Our days on earth are short, and we must work those works of love and compassion in the time that God has allotted to us. Then our opportunity will pass. Let none of us be found faithless. Those with special needs are often the ones who are most responsive to the work of God in their lives. They become avenues through whom God can manifest His grace to still others.
Don’t overlook the small things. Give that cup of cold water. Speak a kind word. Show hospitality to those who are generally ignored. Ask God to give discernment and wisdom to become an oasis in the desert of someone’s life.
India is a place where we see needy people every day. We all know someone in need. Let us see these people as God-sent opportunities to show the love and grace that He means for us all. He will help you to help others, and you will be blessed in ways that you can not anticipate.
Father God, help me to see people with special needs with your eyes, that I may do the special good works you have planned for me. In Jesus’ Name.