Monday, November 26, 2012

Disability Ministry Goes to Seminary...Pt. 2

Last week I let you into my inbox to read a conversation that I’ve been having with Daniel Thomson.  Here’s the rest!  

Jenny:  Daniel, when we met you had asked me about my story.  It seems that people are so candid within the disability community about sharing their stories, but I am still growing used to it.  Mine's painful and personal, but you can scroll down to the bottom of this page  on my blog and watch the YouTube video of the interview I did with my pastor talking about my walk with God and with CP.  

Daniel: I enjoyed reading your blog and watching the video—I am confident that what you are doing now is at least part of the reason for God not healing you physically –to shine for Him in your disability (and the spiritual healing that accompanied your journey)! Faith always shines brighter in darkness -- that's where people need to see and hear it. So, keep shining!

Jenny: Thanks for the encouragement!  Daniel, what motivates you to engage with disability ministry?

Daniel:  Part of the reason I am motivated to do what I do -- as a Physical Therapist and now as a teacher at Dallas Theological Seminary and Dallas Baptist University -- is to bring to light stories such as your own -- people who are suffering, disabled, often alone, often asking "why," and helping to get their stories told to those in the community who need to hear it. You see, there is such a need and a benefit on both sides to bridging the world between non-disabled and disabled. To bridge those who suffer and those who are not suffering helps to present a realistic picture of our humanity in this present world. And those Christians who suffer -- yet let their light shine -- display the truth of the Gospel in a way that could not come about if God did not permit the suffering in the first place.

Jenny:  What about Christians who believe in the “prosperity gospel?”

Daniel: Non-Christians and even Christians who hold a "prosperity gospel" view, look at stories such as yours and start to ask -- maybe there is something to this eternal hope that they cling to? Maybe there is something to this joy and peace of God that sustains one who suffers? Maybe you have come to realize as a dear friend of mine who has a severe disability once told me, "I believe it takes more faith to live well with a disability than to be healed of one!" It is this kind of faith that is real. It is this kind of faith that the church needs to see. And it is this kind of faith that witnesses to a lost world, especially the people of the world who suffer not knowing the hope and Truth we know. It is people like you that push me each day to press on! So, keep doing what you are doing!

Jenny:  Can you give another example of bridging this gap within popular culture?  

Daniel:  Case in point. I just watched tonight for the first time, the movie, the "Soul Surfer." What a great movie about Bethany Hamilton and her life story. Not sure if you know the story, but she was and is a surfer who got her arm bit off by a shark -- yet, persevered -- trusting ultimately in God's sovereignty and plan behind it all -- she kept surfing and used her disability as a platform to let her light shine -- and shine it does! You remind me of her -- keep shining bright and trusting Him -- people such as yourself are the heros of the faith, not ones who's faith is to be questioned. Some day we will all look back on this journey and marvel at all that God did and does -- through the jars of clay that we are just as we are -- yet each molded and being molded for a unique and specific purpose...PRESS ON!

Jenny:  Thanks so much Daniel!  I have watched Soul Surfer I love what she says, “Surfing isn't the most important thing in life. Love is. I've had the chance to embrace more people with one arm than I ever could with two.”

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