Life Will be Different Now (Ros' Blog)
A disabled man sits in a back room, overlooked by all the world, visited a few times a day by a staff member with food, but ignored the rest of the time. Confined to a couch by legs that will not bear his weight, his circumstances chip away at his self-worth until he no longer esteems himself to any degree.
Then one day the staff member enters his stifling room where the hot air stagnates with nowhere to circulate, and tells him he’s going on an outing. Does she explain what the outing is for? Does she offer him a choice? Or is he simply placed on a stretcher and carried out with no say in the matter and no idea where he’s going? Who knows?
A huge surprise awaits him. It is no less than the king who has sent for him! This would be beyond the wildest dreams of any ordinary citizen, let alone one condemned to languish out of sight in a fetid room day after day. The stretcher is lowered before the King and the man bows as best he can. The king explains that he wants to show him kindness and restore his family’s wealth out of respect for his dead father and grandfather.
He is so astonished that he exclaims, “What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?” Such is his view of himself after a lifetime of being shut away and overlooked.
Fast forward to another dark, stifling back room, another disabled man confined to a bed. The neighbours are unaware of his existence, and his family never mention him. From the day he was born he has brought shame to this family, and if the villagers knew of his existence, they would regard the family as cursed. Yet his mother has never stopped loving him, and she feeds him every day as tenderly as when he was a baby.
One day he finds himself being hauled from his bed. His older brother heaves him onto his back and sets off down the road with him. They enter the compound of the local church, but of course the man doesn’t know this since he can’t read the signboard at the entrance. He has never been to school or learned to read. He is laid gently on the ground and finds himself looking at many other people who can’t walk and some unfamiliar people who don’t speak his language.
One of the strangers selects a chair with wheels. His brother helps to lift him into it. Some others cut pieces of foam to the right size and shape, and use them to adjust his sitting position until he looks comfortable. Now he can sit up and look people in the eye! He can leave the isolation of his bed and enjoy the fresh air. From now on his life will be different; he will be able to join family meals, go outside and meet people, make friends, perhaps even work.
You can find the first of these stories in 2 Samuel 9. You can find many more stories like the second one by following this link. Through our international mission trips, we at Through the Roof are continuing something started by King David in the Old Testament, showing disabled people how loved they are by God and by us, and showing communities how valued and welcome disabled people are, and how our lives and our society are enriched when they are given their rightful place alongside everyone else. Could you join in the story? Contact us to find out how to use your skills on a mission trip next year.