When we look at the stories of Jesus with people with disabilities in the Bible, it can seem like a really simple equation. Disability=bad. Curing=good. But one of the things I’ve learned over the past seventeen years of living with a daughter with Down syndrome and learning about the theology of disability is how that simple equation doesn’t, in the end, add up.
One of the reasons I wrote To Be Made Well was to explore the theme of Jesus as healer. I wanted to zoom in on the stories of women and men with what we would now call disabilities and try to understand what was happening there.
- I learned that Jesus does not see disabilities the way our world does. That healing is not primarily about physical transformation (though it is about alleviation of physical suffering) but about a holistic work of reconnection.
- I learned that healing in the Bible is not primarily about physical transformation but about shalom, about relational connection and restoration.
- I learned that my understanding of what makes a human body, mind, and spirit ideal is a far cry from God’s understanding of human wholeness.
Having a child with a disability has helped me see that disability is not a special form of brokenness in need of a special type of healing. Rather, what we call “disability”—like what we call humanity—is an aspect of God’s glorious and wondrous creation that retains marks of the brokenness and pain we all also experience in this human life. Penny’s presence in my life, and Jesus’ acts of healing love, have opened me up to see the ways that healing is for each of us, and for all of us.
More with Amy Julia:
- Free PDF Resource: Movements of Healing guide
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