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Can Disability and Blessing Go Hand in Hand?

Can disability and blessing go hand in hand?
For a long time, I didn’t think so. And I still don’t understand how and when our genetic codes and bodies and minds and spirits reflect the brokenness of the world and the blessing of our creator at the same time.
But I know that in Genesis 32, Jacob wrestles with God, and receives disability and blessing at the same time. Jacob has been trying to manipulate his way into blessing for decades. He has stolen his father’s blessing from his brother. He has tried to steal blessing from his father-in-law as well. And now he wrestles with God. He refuses to let go of God (or God’s messenger—the text is a little unclear) until God blesses him. God does indeed bless Jacob, and at the same time God throws Jacob’s hip out of joint. Jacob walks with a limp for the rest of his life, as if his disability is a sign, a reminder, of God’s blessing.
And I know that Paul had a “thorn in his flesh” that God would not remove. I don’t know that this “thorn” was akin to what we call disability, but I wonder. Paul writes about having poor eyesight, and we also learn in the book of Acts that Paul was blinded by God for three days in his initial encounter with Jesus. I wonder whether, even once Paul’s sight was restored, it was only restored partially. I wonder if Paul, like Jacob, walked around with a constant reminder of God’s blessing through disability.
Finally, there’s Jesus, who walked on earth after he died and was raised to life with the scars of crucifixion still in view. The blessing of love triumphing over the grave, and the reminder of that blessing through the scars of disfigurement.
I can say with confidence that we can experience God’s blessing and the truth of our belovedness in the midst of disability. And I continue to wonder whether, in God’s mysterious providence, disability and blessing go hand in hand.

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