I've known three families in my life with a Special Needs child. The 1st wasn't as sobering or frightening as the other two, but he had needs none the less: Luke was born with his left eye missing. He has the lid and socket, but no eye. I remember his mother's testimony to us when the dr. leaned over and solicitously (if somewhat piously) said "Now, we don't know why things like this happen," and she laughed joyously and said "Because God wants them to!" Kind of set the poor man back.
Then I have a second cousin with Down's Syndrome. His parents, God bless 'em, never treated Jimmie Lee any different than any of their other kids. Jimmie Lee has grown up in a loving home, loved for who he is and is loving in return. His parents never questioned God or asked why, at least not in public ... tho' I'm sure "why" is a question that God is asked frequently. The point is, they chose to trust and thank God, instead.
But I'd never met anyone who God had given the gift of Spina Bifida to, until it was a family in our church. Karen and Bob and the gift of Carson. Why do I say "the gift of Spina Bifida"? Because, as the song says, "God is too wise to be mistaken, God is too good to be unkind; when you don't understand, when you can't see His plan, when you can't find His hand trust His heart." All children are a gift from God and some children God uses in a unique way to show His loving plan to others. Hence, a gift. Karen, Bob and Carson have the joy of being a unique part of God's plan.
God wants us to tell others about His love, but why would a person with a physical disability listen to someone like me, who is whole and healthy in body and mind (tho' my sister might argue the "whole in mind" part!)? Why would parents of a Special Needs child listen to a parent whose children are healthy when they try to tell them God loves them? But, they'll listen to parents who, themselves, have a Special Needs child. They'll listen one day when Carson, wearing braces and using a walker, tells them God loves them, no matter what, and is never wrong, no matter what.
When I heard that Carson had Spina Bifida, my first reaction was "I've heard of this, but I don't know what it is!" Karen didn't mind explaining to the ladies Sunday school, tho' I'm sure it was difficult as she was still trying to deal with it herself. But, Karen is nothing if not kind and generous of heart. So we learned about it right along with her. And, when Carson was born, our preacher simply requested we ladies restrain ourselves from trying to hold Carson until his parents ok'd it (he had immediate back surgery after birth). Carson's first months of life pretty much involved lots of kisses, cooing and women hovering over him. I'm sure he was a bit confused by it all. Once they were sure his back was fine, Carson began to be passed from church member to church member to be loved on. And, while it may have worried his Mom a bit to watch him move out of her arms, she allowed us to share in the joy of this precious Gift from God. No one has made any fuss about Carson’s being “different”, he’s just Carson. A gift from God to be loved and enjoyed.
Today, Carson has worked up to having to wear braces. I'm sure it's not easy, having to do these things to your child, put him in casts, put him through surgery, put him through pokings and proddings other kids don't have to face and then sticking him in braces. But, while willing to share and answer any questions put to them, Karen and Bob never complain. They make it look easy (which I'm sure it's not) and they smile all the time. And they set a wonderful example by thanking God continually for their precious gift.
I ask myself every now and then, how would I handle it if God gave me the gift of a Special Needs child? I have to admit, I don't know, He hasn't asked that of me. I pray it would be with the trust in Him I see in Karen and Bob. A trust, peace and joy they will transmit to their own Gift.
They choose to "trust His heart."