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Which Person Has the Dis-Ability?

Mar 30, 2011

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There are a few times in life when you have the opportunity to experience something that changes you forever.  Some of those times are negative, but others are very positive. In those positive, life-changing moments, invariably something happens that opens your mind to something you didn’t know was possible.  

I vividly remember one of those times when God showed me how powerful connecting with him is, and how valuable anyone can be when we do what God made us to do.  I was in a fairly traditional worship service in a fairly typical charismatic church.  In the midst of worship, a middle-aged woman a half a dozen rows ahead of me was quietly crying.  You wouldn’t have noticed unless you looked right at her, but even from the back, her grief was obvious.  I don’t know why she was crying.  Maybe she had experienced a loss, or had trouble with her marriage or health.  Maybe she had just had a really bad week.  Whatever the cause, she was weeping before God.  I couldn’t think of any way I could comfort her.  I didn't know her, didn’t know anything about her problems, and didn’t know how to help.

At the same time I noticed another woman, much younger, seated across the aisle a few rows behind the weeping woman.  She was openly staring at the crying woman, and at first her obvious and confused stare seemed rude.  Then I realized that this young woman, not yet twenty, had down’s syndrome.

As I watched, the young woman with down's syndrome walked across the aisle, gently placed one hand on the older woman’s shoulder, lifted the other hand in the air, and began praying for her loudly, and in a language I had never heard.  She was praying in tongues, and she was praying boldly, as though she were interceding for the woman with great authority.  

Almost instantly, the older woman sat down in her chair, practically collapsing into a weeping heap of despair.  She wept there for a minute, with the young girl praying over her, and then she raised her hands and lifted her head.  She stood up again and spent the next fifteen minutes or so physically praising God with her hands raised, and her head held high.  When the music ended, the two women embraced, and the younger one returned to her seat across the aisle.

I still don’t know exactly what I witnessed that day, but it was one of the most powerful moments I’ve ever experienced.  I do know I saw a young woman with a disability who most people would dismiss as being a poor, unfortunate burden on society acting as the body of Jesus Christ and intervening in someone’s despair.  She acted and spoke in prayer with authority, although I don’t know what she said.  And what she said spoke life and joy back into someone while I, a perfectly capable, intelligent, well-educated, and caring Christian, had no idea what to do.  

God wants us to be child-like without being childish.  With her innocent, pure mindset that young woman saw a need and met it without a moment of hesitation.  All of us who are able-bodied have the opportunity to learn from those who live from disabilities.  Their circumstances give them a sort of strength that might not come any other way.  There is a wealth of wisdom to be found by those who look with an open mind, and a willing heart.