WE ARE ALL CREATED IN GOD’S IMAGE

                           “Suffer the little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me:
                             for to such belongeth the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:14)

Genesis 1:26-28

“Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish
of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping
thing that creeps upon the earth." So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him;
male and female He created them. And God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply,
and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and
over every living thing that moves upon the earth."”

There are two things taught in the above text that I would like to point out:

1) God created human beings.
2) God created all of us in His image, including those with disabilities.

I want to shift my focus here just a little but please be certain that the underlying theme will remain the same:
“We are all created in Gods Image.”

Sometimes while reflecting on my own limitations—frustrated by them and accepting them at the same time,
the occasional disappointments often help me in better understanding and appreciating the realities and
difficulties of other individuals who struggle for any number of reasons.

First, I believe it is safe to say that our limitations as believers are temporary. We all face and/or deal with our
own human limitations. One in which we all share is the time we have on this earth. Although the number of
years may vary from one individual to another, our days are clearly numbered.

In addition, and because we are all born into sin it's only by grace alone through faith according to the Word
alone and in Christ Jesus that we are delivered from the inevitable second death, with the exception of those
believers who are alive at the return of Christ. We will all face the death of our bodies. However, for those
who deny the Christ as their Lord and Savior they will both die physically and spiritually and suffer eternal
judgment receiving their just rewards: experiencing God's wrath eternally.

There are other limitations: those who suffer emotionally often in a state of brokenness and/or with physical
disabilities are especially aware of this. Now I do not want to make light of any disability, for often it is with
great effort that folks get through the day attempting to accomplish what many of us take for granted. And
some folks do so in misery and suffering.

However, for those who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, they will find their salvation, the free gift of eternal
life, with a special peace, even comfort in the promise, which is for all who believe. There is true healing for
those who know Him and have cast their burdens upon Him. The Lord states in His Word, Matthew 11:29,
30:
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest
for your souls. “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

So what does that say? “Take my yoke upon you"—Strange paradox! That a man already weary and
overloaded must take a new weight upon him, in order to be eased and find rest! But this advice is similar to
that saying in, Psalm 55:22: "Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he will sustain thee;" i.e., trust thy soul and
concerns to him, and he will carry both thyself and thy load.”[1]

I am convinced that regarding God’s elect no matter how the world may judge, persecute and/or neglect His
little ones, whatever their situation they can never be separated from the love of God. “For I am persuaded,
that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,
nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in
Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

Now, despite the reality of that fact, in this realm and in my humble opinion there are many individuals on
any number of levels who possibly due to the fear of rejection and/or because of the way society has so often
judged them already, or, maybe due to their hardness of heart and blindness to the truth they are not sure
where to go or to who. As a result, they simply do not find the help they need. Often, caught in their
struggle, feeling hopeless and stuck, they live a desperate existence from day to day wondering at times if
God really even exists let alone cares.  

There are also those who due to some challenge, disability or simply put, the lack of awareness due to their
age, maturity or limitations of cognizance and/or conceptual continuity, they haven’t the ability to consider
these truths and/or struggles, or, they lack insight in general and fail to see to their own needs let alone, reach
out to someone for help. Many of these, dear souls I speak of are children of all ages often humanly speaking,
the most innocent of children.

Without the ability, or, the cognitive wherewithal to make the simple decisions in life and to choose to serve
the Lord, these individuals need our help, God’s love, protection and guidance even in the simplest of
circumstances.  

Those with challenges, individuals suffering for any reason for that matter are all God’s creation. Especially
His elect as they are His adoptive children created in His image "before the foundation of the world." All
“people are the crown of God’s creative activity, the most significant of [all*]

His creatures: Again,  .  .  .  .  Human beings are, created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-28). The primary
emphasis (however*) appears to be spiritual. This image was marred by sin, and can be seen clearly in John
14:7-9, wherein Jesus says,
““If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on
you know Him, and have seen Him.”
8Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for
us.” 9Jesus said to him,
“Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He
who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?”

By God’s grace alone, this image is being recreated in Christians, as seen in Col 3:9-11: “you laid aside the old
self with its evil practices, 10and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge
according to the image of the One who created him— 11a renewal in which there is no distinction between
Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and
in all.” Even in our beloved children.

A part of the image of God is seen in human responsibility for the world and all that is in it. (This would
include those trapped in their neurological, psychological or physically handicapped prisons; those with
challenges who depend on others for survival every day of their lives like little children*) We must use the
world (and the numerous resources available*) and our own gifts in accord with God’s will. Thus we are
ultimately responsible to Him [God Almighty*]for our acts and for our choices. ”[2]

“The commands of God and people’s choices to obey or not to obey further expand our understanding of the
image of God (Genesis 2:17). Humanity’s freedom of choice is a reflection of God’s absolute freedom. The
sense of right and wrong within the human conscience is also such a reflection (Ro 2:12-16). A further
reflection of the divine image lies in the great potential that people possess (Genesis 11:1-9). The value of
this potential can be seen in the way people use it (Genesis 4:17-22). At its highest, however, it is still
limited (Job 28)[3]  

The reflection of God in human personality ultimately places value on people (Mt 16:26). The final
evaluation of human worth is seen in the price God paid for humanity’s redemption. In John 3:16, Scripture
states,
““For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall
not perish, but have eternal life.”
God’s love places ultimate worth on His human creatures ”[4] (no matter
what their disability*)

“We live in a fallen world where good behavior is not always rewarded and bad behavior not always
punished. Therefore, [humanly speaking], innocent people sometimes suffer. (However*) If God took
suffering away whenever we asked, we would follow him for comfort and convenience, not out of love and
devotion. Regardless of the reasons for our suffering, Jesus has the power to help us deal with it.”[5] He also
has the power to deliver our children.

In closing: I would ask you to consider being a part of the process of growth and healing for those who suffer
for whatever the reason. Often, and very unfortunately some individuals make choices that got them where
they are. Some folks have not the luxury to make such choices, they are prisoners of their disability.  

My prayer today is that the Lord has put it on your hearts to be part of the solution for a population so it
would seem that is right here in our communities seemingly lost and desperately waiting and wanting for
anyone to reach out to them, to help them help themselves, and that to the Glory of God.    

Yours, in and by His Grace alone,

Dr. Thomas R. Miller, C.Ph.D. N.C.C.A. Licensed Clinical Pastoral Counselor

*  Indicates a thought or word inserted by Tom Miller
[1] ADAM CLARKE’S COMMENTARY ON THE NEW TESTAMENT by Adam Clarke, LL.D., F.S.A.,
etc. PARSONS TECHNOLOGY, INC. Cedar Rapids, Iowa
[2] Taken in part from Disciples Study Bible, First Edition Copyright: Copyright © 1988Electronic Edition
[3] Taken in part from Disciples Study Bible, First Edition Copyright: Copyright © 1988Electronic Edition
[4] Title: Disciples Study Bible Edition: First Copyright: Copyright © 1988Electronic Edition STEP Files
Copyright © 1998,  Parsons Technology, Inc.
[5] The Handbook of Bible Application, Neil S. Wilson, Editor, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
WHEATON, ILLINOIS-electronic addition on QuickVerse-Parsons Technology, Inc.
Biblical Thinking & Disabilities
A short story: Working with Developmental Disability

Please note: I want to be clear and acknowledge that the Lord has truly blessed us with
wonderful caring professionals over the years who have helped us to accomplish our goals
to date. In addition, the Lord used our difficult circumstances past to strengthen our faith
and reliance on Him alone.   

“When our son was between four and six years old I did not fully understand his disability
and to some degree I suppose I was in denial. I refused to accept the idea that as one
professional put it in so many words: “he doesn't get it and will more than likely never so
just make him comfortable.”

Instead of taking his advice I worked with Tommy as I could and lovingly pushed him
along despite his limitations. I suppose it was both out of frustration and a desire for him to
succeed that I relentlessly pressed him to do things he allegedly couldn't and to get him to
try to pay more attention. (he is on the Autism Spectrum with several prominent features
some more intense than others)      

In the areas in which the psychology department suggested he would more than likely never
succeed I pushed the hardest. I am not sure if I were stubborn, relentless or if it were out
of fatherly instinct observing his difficulties and wanting for him to have a life and
childhood with the joy that the Lord would seemingly provide for any other child.

At some point when he was about nine or so I realized that we had never received a full
psychological evaluation regarding his disability, e.g., diagnosis, IQ etc. I requested that
information for a doctor that we were communicating with regarding the same to see in
what other ways we could help our son.

That report stated he was Autistic, Mildly Mentally Retarded with an IQ of 49. There were
additional details which just made clear the extent to which he was disabled. When I read
that report I was so broken. I thought that I had pushed my son to do things he was totally
incapable of doing - at least that is what it said on paper and that is what all the doctors and
professionals were telling us. When my wife Peggy came home she found me a wreck,
feeling guilty and fearing that I may have caused my own son suffering as I pushed him
past his limits.

Peggy made it clear when she said, “had you not pushed him he would still be where he
was at four years old. Because you worked with him daily, over and over, and because you
pushed him he now enjoys what they said he was incapable of doing and would likely never
do.”

While the original reports may have been accurate keeping in mind that psychological
testing in and of itself is limited to what one can observe and how the child or individual can
respond to the testing, the secular psychology departments understanding of the human
mind and ability is still limited in my opinion. In our earliest experience with secular
professionals, they either left out and/or did not understand that we are all living souls
whose person exists in a place that they fail to acknowledge. We on the other hand rely on
the Most High God for the healing as He choses for the living souls created by Him,
spiritually and physically even while yet imprisoned in damaged bodies and brains.”    
(Dr. Tom Miller)