The following is an open letter, written with someone particular in mind. But with that said, after my years of work with fellow individuals with disabilities, I think this conveys my heart toward those who feel disconnected and cut off from a relationship with God. This is my heart for the hurting and broken— words that I would speak out loud and in person if given the chance.
I hope you are well. I don’t just write that to say it; I truly mean it. We may not speak anymore, but you come to mind on occasion and I can’t help but wonder. After all, even though it probably wasn’t your intent, you played a role in shaping my perspective on faith.
You didn’t believe, you told me, when we talked. That made me sad. It made me cry to know that you had so vehemently denied the existence of my Savior and God the Father. But your denial also made me angry— so angry, in fact, I cried about that too. I cried because I didn’t want to care about you. To be honest, I didn’t even like you at that time. I wondered why I was wasting my tears on you when your rejection of the Greatest Love of All was so blatantly unwavering.
Now I know why I cried. My tears came from a deeper place, beyond myself. Somehow, I found that I loved you. I truly cared about where you would spend eternity. My heart beat with compassion for the emptiness that I was sure existed in your heart. I witnessed your outward display of anger and antagonism, and I wondered about the deep pain that must be just under the surface of your facade of intimidation and thorny bristle.
What had driven you to reject the One who had created you? Was it the presence of disability, grief and loss, broken relationships, a home life without spoken or physical expressions of love? Why the obvious hate, the anger, the sarcastic and caustic remarks, the walls in place to keep others and God out?
I could ask “why?” all day long, but it doesn’t fix anything. It only matters “what” I do in response. You may never read this letter, but simply writing it out helps me focus on the reasons beyond the “why.”
Above everything else, I would tell you, if you were willing to listen, that I still carry that love in my heart for you. It is a love that doesn’t make sense. It is not a love I chose to embrace on my own. It came from the example of my best friend, Jesus Christ. When He walked on this earth, He didn’t just seek out the perfect, whole bodies, free of deformity and disability. True, He interacted with everyone, but I also know He specifically reached out to the broken, lame, blind, and unclean. He healed them and forgave them of their sins.
And He still does this today. I don’t know if you blame Him for your physical limitations. I also don’t know if this is at the core of your anger and denial. But if there is any doubt of His existence, presence, and care in your life, please consider this:
Your disability, your unique purpose, and position in this world— none of it was an accident. All of it has meaning, and He created you in the midst of this broken, yet, beautiful world because He has something great in store for you. He is waiting to welcome you in so He can walk beside you in this life. Yes, I said WALK! He may not physically heal you in your lifetime, but He can heal your heart. He understands everything at the root of who you are, and you don’t need to explain a thing because He created you. No one is perfect. Only God is perfect in His plan and purpose. Serving Him is not, and will never be, a ticket to an easy existence. Problems and challenges will still exist but that isn’t because God hates you or is excluding you from His will. He desires to show you that above all else, He works everything for good if we love him (Romans 8:28).
Loving God and cultivating a deep relationship with Him is an ongoing process, but it is so worth the work and the effort to embrace Him. Reach out to Him when you are ready to give Him your all. You won’t regret it, for He will give you ALL of Himself and so much more than you could ever ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).
In the love of my All-encompassing God,