“And whenever the living creatures (in heaven) give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, ‘Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”- Revelations 4:9-11, in heaven added for clarification
He is seated on the throne in all His glory and all His wonder. Lightening thrashes around Him; thunder blazes before and behind. The most beautiful, rare, intricate jewels encompass His very being. All the colors of the rainbow surround the throne, and before the throne sits burning torches of fire and a sea of glass like crystal. Yet, the brilliance is found in Him, the One seated there, His mere presence combining the glitter of fresh snow lying in the fields and the brightness and beauty of the rising sun as it blazes in the sky. The beauty is indescribable through mere human words; yet the magnitude and glory of Him that sits is clear. All around Him, at all times and in all ways, you hear the elders and living creatures crying out, “Holy, holy, holy…”; the prayers of the people still on earth rising like incense through the air and landing at His feet.
She kneels before His throne, head down in shame and fear. She is ghastly in appearance, the weight of the baggage she carries giving her a maimed look at best. She is covered in scars, many of them still bleeding, most of them infected and festering with disease. The woman is crippled, a leper without a cure. She is the type of person that, if seen on earth, most of us would look away in discomfort. For us, it would just be too messy. Too broken. Too hopeless. She does not even glance up to the One on the throne, not sure why she is there but knowing she is undeserving.
The Enemy comes behind her and begins to taunt, “What are you doing here? Why do you think you even come close to deserving to come before His throne? You are disgusting, and broken, and messed up all together. You will never be worthy of laying at His feet. You should just go. In fact, you should just come with me, where you and others like you belong.”
As the woman begins to bow down even more, filled with more hurt and more humiliation, the One on the throne cries out, “Away with you, Satan! This is my child, my beloved, the one I love. She is the one I want.”
Satan looks up, appalled. “Her? Don’t you see her? She’s helpless! She is crippled. Disabled at best, dependent and needy for sure.”
“Yes,” He on the throne replied. It is true that she is helpless. It is true that she is crippled, and that she is unable to save herself or clean herself up. Yet, when I look at her, I don’t see these things. I see her. The real her. The her that I created and the her that is underneath all the sin, all the baggage, all the mess. I loved her so much that I sent my perfect Son to die for those things. He nailed it all to the cross. So now, while you may see the disability, I simply see the child whom I love.”
The woman, feeling strangely less held down, glances up. At once, the Enemy flees. She sees Him, and in an instance, she is drawn to Him. As she begins to worship, knowing she has nothing to offer but praise and thanksgiving, He leans down, touches her, and, at once, all the mess and the blood and the stench and the pain is replaced with a garment that is as white as snow. A garment that she is sure will never have to be washed again, for it is clear: It has been washed in His blood and that is more than enough.
The woman wakes up, and realizes that it was just a dream. Yet, in her heart, she knows that the truths within the message of it reign true. While she is in her human skin, she recognizes that if the truth of her flesh and her life were visible, she would be crippled, bloody, and maimed. She sees, more than ever before, that only He on the throne can take away those things; and she knows that if He, in all His glory and wisdom, says that He has freed her from the mess of what she has made herself, that He can be trusted. Beyond that, she knows that only He that has the power to do just that is worthy of her worship. She knows she will fail, every day, to give Him the glory He fully deserves. But, because of this dream, she now sees that the One who accepted her in all her mess and inability has the ability to love her in the here and now. She will never be the same.
Several people have implied, or outrightly said, this to me:
“Morgan, you have a great attitude about all this, and it’s wonderful that you are able to bring the positive out. But let’s be honest, if you had the choice, you would not choose to have two daughters with special needs. You would choose differently if there was a way to do so”.
I have a really hard time with this on a lot of different levels, and it’s difficult to portray the thoughts that I have, yet as I pondered it, the vision above is what He gave me. Friends, the truth is this: we are all that woman. I am that woman. We may have physical abilities or intellect or physical beauty or success or material things or relationships or popularity or fame or credentials that make us “feel” otherwise; yet, the truth is that without Christ, we have nothing to offer to eternity. Yet, because of Him and His sacrifice, we can step out in faith and be confident that His perfect record is now ours. We can know that while the world may see the disability, God sees the ability, found only in His Son. I love this quote from Walter Wink that says,
“The gospel teaches, not that we are all equal, but that we are all incomparable. Each person is unique in the eyes of God. All people, regardless of how they score on the popularity ratings of, ‘normalcy’, are of infinite value, are infinitely treasured, and are infinitely interesting… so the problem is not with people with disabilities. We are all disabled in significant ways, and who is to say what is the more severe disability… the problem is rather with the idea of normalcy itself. Those with disabilities are a continual accusation to those who have sold their souls to normalcy. No wonder people with disabilities are sometimes hated, shamed, or ignored. They are an ultimate threat to a “normal’ person’s very self-definition. Their very existence is a mute reminder that the ‘normal’ person has lost what is most precious, most incomparable, about themselves in their very anxiety to fit in. So the world is divided into two groups after all. Not, however, the normal and the abnormal, or the able and the disabled. Rather, the line is drawn between those who are aware of their disabilities and those who are blind to them.” (emphasis mine)
Friends, each of us has a disabled soul that only God can fix. Our girls have taught me less about their own dependence and, instead, more about my own helplessness, my own disabilities, my own weaknesses. In turn, they have caused me to lean even harder on the cross and on His promises to take my messes and make me whole. I am aware more than ever before of how God takes the very things the world would call weak in order to show His sheer strength and power.
So, when it is assumed that I am having a good attitude, or that the Gospel is a cop-out or a bandaid, this would be my response. God has given me eyes to see what it means to be truly handicapped, and it has nothing to do with what the culture around us would define it as. No. We all have souls that are unable to see the things that truly matter without the miraculous trade-off God performed for us on the cross. He performed that which we could never do in order to give us the freedom to stop striving and start worshipping. To stop trying to change how He created us and those around us, and instead, start loving all the more. And, when it comes to our girls, I am forever indebted to Him for giving me the privilege of having a permanent reminder to fix my eyes on all things eternal during my time on earth. Is it always fun? Of course not. Is it always comfortable? Definitely not. Do my emotions always line up with this truth? A million times no. Yet, I have found that most of the greatest things ever accomplished or the most beautiful truths realized in our hearts did not stem from comfortable or fun. It is in the wrestling, in the clinging, in the keep on keeping on, that growth happens and something more magnificent than we could possibly imagine blooms from within us.
Friends, you are that woman before the cross. You are, in fact, more disabled than you could possibly realize. Yet, in Christ, your robe is permanently stained white with the power of His blood. All it takes is faith to believe this. It may not be easy, but it will be worth it. You do not have to hide. You do not have to believe the lies that you have messed up too great or that your weakness is too big. Don’t look to your own stuff. Look to Him. My prayer for you today is that you would fall authentic and naked before Him, knowing that He sees you and knows you fully and loves you more than you could ever fathom. That you would trust in Him to use the weakest things around and within in order to portray His mighty strength. He is able, He is able, He is able.