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Disabilities - Why Do Some People Have Them?

I would like to know what the Bible says about deafness and other disabilities. Why do some people have some sort of disabilities?

Thank you for writing. I appreciate your question about being born deaf. I realize that I cannot personally understand what this is like. Any practical advice I would give in this area would certainly fall far short. However, I think I can give a couple of Bible answers that God placed in His word to help those who have certain disabilities. I hope and pray that they are a help to you.

  1. First, you need to understand that God allowed this to be your condition. When Moses complained about his inability to speak well, God answered, "Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD?" (Exodus 4:10). Since God allowed it, we are not to blame ourselves or others. However, we must understand that God has a purpose for all things.
  2. Second, understand that God has something good in it both for Himself and for those who will trust in Him. Jesus Himself testified that a man had been born blind "that the works of God should be made manifest in him" (John 9:3). God used this man's blindness to bring glory to Himself.  Also, Paul taught us that "all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28). Not only do these problems work to the glory of God; they also work to the good of those who love Him.
  3. Third, please understand that your deafness is temporary if you know Jesus Christ as your Saviour. Isaiah 35:5-6 speaks of a future time when it states, "Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert."  I know that the word "dumb" is often taken as an offensive term, but it is not meant so here. It simply means someone who cannot speak. This passage teaches that the deaf will hear and the mute will sing in the presence of the Lord. One of these days, you will hear. In fact, the first thing you may hear is the blessed voice of the Saviour. This brings me to one final point.
  4. Fourth, learn to develop the spiritual gift in the area where you have be denied physical ability. This is more of an observation than a biblical command. But I have seen that those who are not allowed to have a certain physical ability can often turn that "disability" into a special "ability" in the spiritual realm. One of my favorite examples is Fanny Crosby. She lost her sight as a child, yet God allowed her to write many great hymns and much beautiful God-honoring poetry. One of the fascinating things that I have noticed in her hymns is her frequent reference to sight. I finally realized that she did see and she saw much better that most sighted people. But her sight was spiritual sight.

I started noticing that her hymns almost always have a reference to sight and I enjoy looking to those references when we sing one of her hymns. One of her hymns is called "My Saviour First of All."  In one of the verses, she begins, "Oh, the soul thrilling rapture when I view His blessed face and the luster of His kindly beaming eye."  What a vision she had for God!

I cannot deny that hearing is a special gift from God and I do not minimize what you may have to go through in dealing with deafness. However, as a hearing person, I also know that we are often bombarded with noise from many different sources. They tend to confuse the thinking and make it difficult to focus on God and His truth. I pray that you will learn to use your inability to hear the sounds of this world as an aid in hearing the voice of God in your heart. Make sure of your salvation.

Then, make sure of your determination to serve the Lord. He will bless and keep you in your way. And, always know that He has a special plan for your life if you will rely entirely on Him.