On Sunday, after Doulos, I went to the Special Ministries service at 10:30 AM. I had a little trouble finding the room, but when I did step into it, there was no doubt I’d come to the right place. There were people of a wide spread of ages (but almost entirely adults) with varying disabilities, levels of responsiveness, and personalities.
Almost immediately, I spotted a young man in the middle of the group of about 20 people. He caught my eye because he was wearing a bright blue striped shirt, the same one I’d bought for Andrew at Target a few months earlier. He looked to be in his early twenties and he had a very handsome face. At first I thought he might be a volunteer…but when he opened his mouth or moved his arms, it became clear that he was a participant in the disabilities ministry.
For the whole class period, I was drawn to him. He was very much in tune with the teaching time, sitting on the edge of his seat to listen, and answering questions about the gospel correctly (though his speech was difficult to decipher). There was something oddly sobering about such a normal-looking guy in a t-shirt my husband often wears. So similar in some ways, yet so vastly different in others.
God’s sovereignty and providence are really all that lie between blessing Andrew with a typical, robust life and creating him with the severe disabilities I observed in the young man in the bright blue t-shirt. It was a powerful challenge to thank the Lord for knitting Andrew together from conception in a way that provided him with a strong body and healthy mental capacity. God could have created him with special needs and thus taken him down a very different path. He would still be fearfully and wonderfully made, just as this young man was, but Andrew’s life would have many difficulties that he doesn’t have to face. I was also reminded that a bad car accident could change our lives forever if Andrew (or I) were to sustain serious brain damage.
Basically, God used a t-shirt to fill me with a renewed sense of gratitude for the blessings in my life, not the smallest of which is a healthy, intelligent husband. It’s not a gift he bestows on everyone, but for whatever reason, in His good pleasure, He did that for us.
Never take your life and luxuries for granted…there are so many who know nothing of them.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thes. 5:16-18