Special people, special day - a tournament held recently for softball, tennis and soccer players was staged in a beautiful park near San Diego. Athletes, their coaches, friends and families gathered to enjoy the day and cheer on their team. Only for this event will I arise before the sun! We get an early start. We are one of the blessed families who not only have a special child, but have been able to participate as volunteer coaches for many years. Our tennis team became like family as year after year we taught some basic tennis skills, loved and hugged, cheered and shared life's joys and sorrows. Our son Steve has participated in many sports and his life has been enriched by the friends he's made and skills he's learned.
Most of the athletes take their sport seriously and try to do their best. Most of the athletes can recite by memory the Special Olympic motto they repeat before each tournament, "Let me win, but if I can't win, let me be brave in the attempt".
A few years ago a friend sent me a story about a Special Olympic (SO) Tournament somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. Seven 'runners' lined up on the track for a competition. The whistle blew and off they went running toward the finish line. One of the boys tripped and fell down. When the other six discovered this, they all stopped, ran back, helped him get to his feet. Then, an amazing thing happened, they locked arms and walked to the finish line together to the cheers, and probably some tears, of those in the grandstand. When I heard this story I couldn't help but think how different the world would be if we stopped to help someone rather than charging ahead in pursuit of our own victory. Special people often see special truth.
SO games and tournaments are held all over the world. Each athlete is unique and their disabilities vary. Just like in the 'normal' world, there are no two exactly alike. Our son was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at nine months. He was my first baby. I was so in love with him, even before he was born. We were heartbroken that he'd be challenged and life may not be easy. I don't recall harboring any anger toward God, or anyone. Deep down in my soul I trusted a God that I didn't know yet. We've been determined to give him the best life possible. We're still working at it!
During those early years someone said to me, "I don't know how you can deal with this, I don't think I could if it happened to my child." The truth is that we don't need to 'deal with' something until it's necessary. The Lord knows when we need 'mercy' and that is when He makes it available. He loves those who love Him, and is in the midst of our pain and trouble always working for our good....Romans 8:28.
Could what happened to our son be 'just one of those things', or was God's hand in it? If it'd been an accident, a sad mistake by an incompetent doctor, or anything else that was totally out of control, there would be reason for sorrow. The burden of -"why this, who is to blame" - is hard to live with. I didn't want to! God is gracious and merciful and one day showed me a verse in the Bible that would forever cement my view of those who have disabilities.
Let me set the scene - God had asked Moses to lead His people, the Jews, out of Egypt. Moses rebelled, he told God he had a disability; he was "slow of speech and tongue". Now that caught my attention because our son's damage was done to the part of the brain that controls speech. He has some paralysis of his tongue and throat muscles so his speech is very difficult to understand. This is God's reply to Moses.
"Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the Lord?" Exodus 4:10 -11.
God told Moses not to worry, the disability was from Him! He is the Creator and totally in charge of His creation. The Lord has a reason for what He does - sometimes He lets us know, often times, He doesn't. We need to trust Him and walk by faith, not by sight...2 Corinthians 5:7. When we are able to see with eyes of faith, we come to know that as children of a sovereign God, we are never victims of our circumstances. Psalm 103:19 - "The Lord has established His throne in the heavens and His sovereignty rules over all." What a glorious truth this is for those who have a 'victim mindset'. You have available to you the full power of God who is sovereign over all!
We are so blessed to have Steve in our life. He has a good life, many who love him and thanks to modern technology, he's becoming more independent and less challenged. He has a nice little home, a dog, enjoys sports and traveling with the family. When we took him on a trip to Europe he knew just what he wanted to see and do. Big Ben in London, climb to the very top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris and explore the Coliseum in Rome. He can't wait for the next adventure. Best of all, he loves the Lord and knows that he'll spend eternity in heaven. God will make all things new and our Steve will be absolutely perfect!
We thank you Lord for all the lives we've come in contact with because You made some very special people who will ultimately be for your glory!
Bobbe Van Hise
- Over the past few years my blog has been visited by people from all over the world. Very few know me, or of me, they simply are looking information concerning the Bible and discover my blog. After many years of intense study and teaching, I've come to believe we are vulnerable to misguided and incorrect teaching if we don't understand for ourselves the teaching of God's Word. My 'hot buttons' are - grace, sovereignty, exhortations and sanctification. If you understand these basic principles of Scripture, and apply them to daily life, you will understand what it means to have peace, joy and absolute security in any circumstance.