Thursday, May 11, 2017
There Are No Special Needs in Heaven
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”
(Revelation 21:4 NLT, second edition)
There are no special needs in heaven. I am convinced. I need for myself to be convinced that there are no special needs in heaven. My heart aches, hard and often, when I hear the doctors talk. I respect their honesty, their credentials, their professional opinion. But I ache when I hear them say, with their gentle bedside manner, “He’ll never… fully be able to… reach the same potential...” Or “We don’t know how long it will be until she reaches that milestone, but it will take a long time… years...” “We don’t know the outcome, but you should be prepared.” There’s never a prognosis, rarely a diagnosis. But there are teams of doctors and nurses and therapists and medications and loads of mail from the insurance company. And those things weigh heavy when you see typical parents typically parenting their typical kids who meet the typical milestones in the typical amount of time enduring typical childhood illnesses and nothing more. We wouldn’t change our children for the world but sometimes, and often times, the heart just aches for what they could and should have had in this life.
It's ok if you say that they are different, not disabled. It’s ok if you say their disability is a gift that enabled amazing blessings. But for me, my heart aches because of the special needs that I see and hear and feel the effects of each and every day. God doesn’t place more value on that typical child with typical potential than he does on the child with a poor prognosis. He doesn’t place less importance on a little one with cognitive impairment than he does on a child with enhanced cognitive ability. What will these babies be like in heaven with Jesus? He doesn’t see them as less than, He sees them as loved.
I don’t know what happens to our physical, emotional, and mental disabilities in heaven. I don’t know where the line is drawn between special needs and special abilities. But God says there are no special needs in heaven; there are no sick children in heaven. There are no limited abilities in heaven. There is no potential that isn’t met, no milestone that can’t be reached, no loss of ability or identity, no accommodations needing to be made nor IEP’s to be followed. No diagnosis, no prognosis, no special needs that are right now causing heartache and sadness. Because Jesus will wipe every tear from our eyes and there will be no more sickness, no more sorrow, no more pain.
I don’t know what a perfect body will be like, I don’t know what our heavenly brains will be capable of, or what abilities we will have or not have. I don’t know what it will feel like when we don’t have to face the aches and pains of everyday life, or when we don’t have to watch our child suffer through needle sticks and MRI’s and procedures causing discomfort and pain. I don’t know what characteristics of a ‘diagnosis’ may be present in the Holy City, but I do know that there will be no more sorrow, no more crying, no more tears, no more sickness. There will be no special needs that cause separation, unreached potential, or sadness. There will be no special needs because we will all be specially loved and full of joy.
I love my children, just as they are, but my heart hurts when I see the pain in their eyes, the frustration in their cries, and the lonesomeness among their peers. And I look forward to that time when Jesus wipes the tears from their eyes and mine, when what was stolen is restored, what was broken is fixed, and what was sick is now healed in His Holy Presence. I look forward to heaven where there are no special needs, but rather, where we are all specially loved.
Help me to remember that the pains and sorrows we face on earth are only temporary until we reach our eternal home with You. We humbly ask that You heal our children, that You comfort their pain, and that You give us the strength and the faith to care for them until healing occurs, either here, or in heaven. And when we get discouraged and tired, we pray that You will give us the hope and peace and joy that can only come from You.