God’s Word VS The Lies the Enemy Tells The Afflicted
A follower of Jesus Christ who has studied God’s word, should have a basic understanding of the nature of spiritual warfare and the nature of the enemy of the Christian’s soul. Jesus told the truth about the nature of Satan in John 8:44 when he addressed Abraham’s descendant’s who were part of the crowd that sought to kill Jesus. In this passage, Jesus said of the devil “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44
In my walk with the Lord as a person with a disability, I have come to realize that the enemy of my soul tells lies based on many unfortunate circumstances in the lives of God’s children. I have seen the effect of his lies on people who are children of divorce, individuals with illnesses and parents of individuals with disabilities. I am certain that the devil lies to everyone who is able to be deceived by his lies. This requires little more than being old enough and having the mental capacity to be his victim. Because I was born with cerebral palsy, I have chosen to write about my experience with deception, in hopes that someone in any situation, can learn to recognize similar lies from the enemy and be set free from what God has to say about those lies. We are told in John 8:32 that we shall know the truth and the truth shall set us free.
Lie: Your disability is your fault or the fault of your parent (S).
Truth: John 9: 1-3 And as he passed by, he saw a man blind from his birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Rabbi, who sinned, this man, or his parents, that he should be born blind? 3 Jesus answered, Neither did this man sin, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. While volumes have been written on why tragic or unfortunate circumstances happen to people, it basically comes down to the fact that we live in a world that is marred with sin and the consequences of sin. Once Eve took the bite of the apple in the Garden of Eden, the consequences of sin began and they are still a part of the human experience today.
There are circumstances where people become disabled due to their actions, such as a drinking while driving accident etc. There are also examples of children who are the victims of the bad choices of their parents, as in the case of mothers who drink or use alcohol during pregnancy and cause their unborn child to have disabilities from these substances.
Even in these circumstances, we know that God is able to do as he wills and so, if he had chosen, the circumstances causing the disability, were not beyond His ability to disallow and therefore, He has a plan to use the circumstance for good. Romans 8:28 says that we know all things work for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to his purpose. So, even if the disability an individual sustains is a result of bad choices, we have a chance to get beyond any guilt and anger and partner with God to see how He can use the disability for the good. When we look at the afflictions Job suffered and the way Paul endured difficult times and the way God chose to use them, we realize that God does use adverse circumstances to display his power in the lives of those who surrender their circumstances to His Lordship. The enemy will tell the afflicted person that they are being punished when, in fact, the Lord is allowing the adversity to be used for His glory. Life on earth is so short in light of eternity. I wonder if, when we suffer for the cause of Christ, we meet people in Heaven that were there as a result of how they saw Christ in our circumstances.
Lie: Your life is totally different than the lives of those without a disability.
Truth: This is probably the biggest lie I have had to deal with in my life. Starting in childhood when I was always one of the last to be picked in physical education to be on competitive teams to adolescence when other kids (including my sister who is five years younger than me) got a driver’s license, a car and the freedom that came with those privileges which I didn’t gain until much later and finally to adulthood when my husband and I made the difficult decision not to have children when all of our same age peers were having babies.
The Bible says in Matthew 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. The enemy tells his victims that he/she is the only one who is dealing with difficult circumstances. This fosters a feeling of isolation that often leads to loneliness and distress. The Word of God speaks directly to combat this lie but as a child, it is harder to understand this spiritual battle. I was born in 1965 when there were few, if any (known to my family) support groups for parents and children with cerebral palsy. I think it is important to network with people who are going through difficulties similar to our own but also to realize adversity is universal (as stated in Matthew 5:45) and life on this side of Heaven has hardship and pain but not just for people who fall into categories such as: disabled and/or ill. Brokenness is painful, but God is the God of comfort and peace.
People tend to hide their pain and struggles. It was not until I got to know people who were “real” about their life that I began to understand the
“Sameness” I had with people who did not have a disability. I came to recognize the same emotions, desires and issues present in my life that were present in theirs. It was when I began to realize that other people had similar needs and that He might use me to contribute to their lives that I really began to get it.
Lie: If your parents divorce, it was probably your disability that caused it.
Truth: Having parents that chose to divorce is difficult for any individual to cope with. Unfortunately, we have come to a time in history where marriage is no longer held as an honorable estate by many, and many babies are born to single parents and even some never know who at least one biological parent is. There are still those of us with disabilities who were born to married parents who later divorced. It is undeniable that having a child with a disability creates a great deal of stress on parents as individuals and as a couple. The fact is that they took vows “for better or worse” and they made the choice to break those vows. No one made them choose to marry and neither did anyone cause them to divorce. Individuals who have divorced parents who do not have a disability often blame themselves for their parents being divorced and, while it never is, this just seems to be a common lie the enemy taunts children of divorce with. Thank-God for His forgiveness and grace for the sins we all commit and that God can restore the brokenness that we all experience in this life.
Lie: Your life would be better if you were not disabled.
Truth: I believe there is a grieving process that comes with loss and this includes the loss of physical abilities for people who have a physical dis ability that gets progressively worse and for parents of children born with disabilities of any nature, because both losses can include having to give up dreams for the future. I believe that God understands our pain and says that He is there to comfort us at those times as promised in Matthew 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted. While I think there are these times of mourning that might come and go with the losses we experience, I think we need to remain steadfast in the knowledge of the sovereignty of God and that He has a plan for us and we are to keep in mind that there really are reasons we have been selected to have a disability that are for His purposes. In the words of author Priscilla Shirer , “When God places an abnormal calling on your life, it is because He has abnormal things He wants to produce through you”. Holding onto these truths keep us from believing the enemies lie that our life would have been better if we were not disabled. The Psalmist says it best in the following scriptures
Psalms 119:71, 75 71 It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees. 75 I know, O LORD, that your laws are righteous, and in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
Lie: People should understand you and have patience with you.
Truth: One thing I know a great deal about as a result of my CP is frustration. Frustration that people simply do not “get it”. I tend to forget that many people (including some medical professionals) do not even know what cerebral palsy is. One of the biggest and most hurtful assumptions people make is that we are mentally handicapped as well as physically handicapped. The fact is that their experiences in life and their education has not taught them that people using a walker can hear fine and can be of normal intelligence. I could probably cite a volume of these experiences that my husband (who also has CP) and I have with people who simply do not understand. It is at these times that I am reminded that Jesus Christ, the son of God himself, was not understood by many he came in contact with. If they didn’t understand his motive or his heart, how can they understand me?
We are told in Romans 12:18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone, that makes me responsible to be patient with individuals who do not understand me do not have patience with me when I move a slow pace in a very fast world. If I could suggest one prayer that should be prayed on a consistent basis for those with disabilities, I would ask that they pray for us to have patience and kindness, gentleness and self-control when people do not understand or have patience with us. Pray that Christ will accomplish his purposes in us and that Christ would shine through us. We must also live the truths of Philippians 4:8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.