Peter helps Penny cross rocks over a stream

How God Thinks About Disability

As we come to the end of Down Syndrome Awareness month, I had a chance to preach at church Sunday about the theology of disability. 

It sounds like a heady and theoretical topic, but it isn’t at all. Theology is a big word, but the root of that word comes from two words: theos, which means God, and logos, which means reason. So the theology of disability is God’s reasoning around disability. God’s thinking about disability. God’s logic. 

And what I’ve learned over these past 16 years of raising a child with Down syndrome and thinking and praying and returning to the Bible and asking questions and rethinking so much about what it means to be human is that God’s logic is very different than our logic. 

The logic of our society (and most human societies) when it comes to disability has a few strains:

  • That’s so sad.
  • That’s so hard.

And I don’t mean to say that there is never hardship or sorrow associated with disability. There is. But what I do mean to say is that God does not see disability, and God does not see people with intellectual or physical disabilities, and say, “That’s so sad” or “that’s so hard.” God sees people with disabilities and says, “Beloved.” God says, “Blessed are you.” God says, “You belong with me.” 

The theology of disability, God’s logic of disability, is not hardship and sorrow. It is a theology of surprising and unexpected blessing, of belovedness and belonging. We are all invited out of the realm of earning our worth and proving ourselves and into the realm of receiving God’s blessing.

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