Parents should take care reading a book like this. It is deceptively easy to digest, but the work these God–given stories carry out is nothing short of profound. As a parent of a disabled child I found that these stories crept into my heart, shedding light on, sometimes breaking open the most painful wounds. But that is the sort of medicine that is needed for injuries that haven’t healed properly. Only when we begin to glimpse God’s purposes in our family tragedies do we really have a chance to develop any real spiritual strength for the days ahead.
Take Heart consists of a collection of stories from parents with disabled children. They share in a very honest way the long–term struggles they are undergoing, the love that motivates them and the grace that empowers their efforts. In their accounts the reader can clearly see how God works through pain to produce the imperishable image of Christ in His children. Interspersed between the stories are helpful Biblical reflections on the nature of creation, forgiveness and love – to name a few – that provide the Bible’s broader perspective on disability. Together, these stories and scriptural insights make this a book suitable for the Christian and non–Christian alike.
Though this book is primarily intended as an encouragement for families struggling with disability, it has great benefit for anyone standing on the outside looking in. From the very beginning it points out that disability is a seasonal occurrence: we will all face times when disability sets us aside from those around us. It may be an injury or the inevitable result of age, but it is a reality in every life, not a sad occurrence for some. As such it behooves every Christian to develop a good understanding of the theology behind disability. In understanding disability better, and what shape our response to it should take, we come to understand our God.
Take Heart reflects in a number of different ways on the sovereignty of God, probably most powerfully in pointing out that disability is clearly not a ‘mistake’ but part of how God chooses to make someone for the sake of His glory. God is, in fact, nowhere near as embarrassed about disability as we seem to be. In one particular chapter Take Heart points out that Jesus came to deal with a fundamental disability in every human being. And He became disabled so that we might be healed:
“His body was injured and his fellow humans despised him, giving Jesus a taste of life with a disability. The profound twist is that the disabled Christ was ably paying the price for sin. If we are all disabled when it comes to wisdom, we are also all disabled when it comes to putting things right with God. In an experience of disability for our sakes, Christ has put things right.”
You may be the parent of a disabled child, and as such, you could be struggling to get everything ‘sorted’. You don’t have time to spend on every well–meaning book; you have the day–to–day to deal with. And you certainly don’t want anyone messing with the way you feel, when you have so much to accomplish for your child’s sake. From one parent to another, stop and read this book. The God it reveals it quite capable of helping you with those struggles when you get back to them, and when you do, you will find that its perspective helps you see His hand underneath everything you thought you had to fight on your own.
– Mark Hadley, Editor – Sydneyanglicans.net
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