There are times when I will thank God for the full functioning of my physical body. I am grateful for a clear mind and for the ability to fully experience the world through my five senses. I will pray for those who may be blind, deaf, or impaired in some way that I believe reduces their quality of life. Recently I began counseling a woman who is deaf. She was born deaf after her mother had contracted rubella during her pregnancy. This client has struggled and experienced a lot of negative and unpleasant situations in her life. She did attend a school for the deaf and is able to read lips which is how we communicate during sessions. Initially I was feeling anxious about working with her as I had no prior experience with counseling deaf individuals, so I did not know what to expect. But I found this woman to be endearing and a strong believer in Christ. What captured my heart during a recent session was a story she told me about her experience in a charismatic church. Her abusive husband who is not deaf insisted that she was meant to hear and took her to this church which believed all people could be healed with enough faith and prayer. She remembers feeling very uncomfortable as people placed their hands on her head and prayed for healing. However, when her hearing was not restored, it was suggested that she was some how at fault. Her husband even commented that there may be sin in her life. My client refused to buy into this thinking and what she stated next gave me pause to think. The client stated, "I was born deaf. God wanted it to be this way so I could go into the deaf community and join a deaf church ministering to deaf people and telling them about Jesus." Her comment reminded me of the story of the blind man in the gospel of John that Jesus healed. Jesus' disciples asked Him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life."(John 9:2-3) emphasis mine. The Rabbis in Jesus day had developed this principle that there was "no death without sin, and no suffering without iniquity." They even believed that a child could sin in the womb or that its soul might have sinned in a preexistent state. They also held that terrible punishments came on certain people because of the sin of their parents. However Jesus soundly contradicts those beliefs. My client's response to her accusers echoes Jesus' words. She believes that the work of God was to be best displayed in her life through her deafness. All I could think in my mind was WOW! I was challenged to see the world a little differently and to be somewhat more cautious about throwing a pity party for those who are challenged in life. Yes, one could say that since this client was born deaf she never knew what she was missing in the hearing world. However, the perspective she carries in her heart makes all the difference. There were probably moments when she wondered what music sounds like or the singing of birds in the early morning. Moreover, the bullying she experienced at the hands of children when she was growing up and the abuse of her husband only compounded her pain. But instead of giving in or giving up she let her God be her Defender. She told me, "I have been through a lot and I have made some mistakes but now I am stronger and I pray to God everyday to help me." This is the kind of faith that stirs my soul and I am grateful to God that He is teaching me through my sisters and brothers in the Lord.
In His Grace,