How can I live with a physical defect?
Birthmarks, disabilities, deformities, and other needs cause us to ask searching questions. Why would a loving, all-powerful Creator God allow imperfections to exist?
Remember that the world is marred by man’s rebellion against God. We bear the consequences of sin in the form of sickness, death, and other hardships. Yet, in the face of these harsh realities, God mercifully works to redeem painful circumstances. What appears to be intended for evil, God can use for good. (See Genesis 50:20 and Romans 8:28.)
Lasting happiness and fulfillment rests in God, in being satisfied in Him, and in surrendering ourselves to Him. Pain and suffering can be tools in God’s hand to draw us to Himself. In the pain of accepting a defect, He is able to make Himself known to you and to others. (See II Corinthians 4:16–5:1 and John 17:3.)
If you have a birth defect, God has a purpose for allowing this challenge in your life. Listed below are some ways you can make wise choices in response to a physical defect or handicap:
Focus on God, not on yourself.
God is able to use the circumstances of your life to demonstrate His redeeming power and great love. Seek Him in your circumstances. Whatever God uses to help you experience His greatness will become a blessing, because experiencing God is worth more than anything. Life is not about us, it’s about God. (See Philippians 3:7–11.)
Learn to walk before God and others in humility.
A defect can be a reminder of your need for God. This understanding can motivate you to walk in humility, which puts you in a position to receive God’s grace. (See James 4:6.) When the Apostle Paul struggled with a “thorn in the flesh,” he learned that God’s grace was sufficient for his weaknesses. (See II Corinthians 12:9.)
Rely on God’s approval rather than man’s approval.
Some people might judge or reject you because of a defect, but God’s approval is not based on outward appearances. He looks on the inward character of the heart. (See I Samuel 16:7.) When you receive God’s gift of salvation, you are accepted by God through Jesus Christ. You can rest in God’s approval—your joy and confidence will not depend on others’ opinions of you.
Daily acknowledge the fact that your body belongs to God.
Any birthmark, scar, or defect can take on value when you see it as a mark of God’s ownership. (See I Corinthians 6:19–20.)
Rejoice in your perfect condition in Christ.
As a Christian, when God looks at you, He sees the perfection of Christ rather than your imperfections. (See Ephesians 1:3–7.) When your life on earth has ended, He will give you a new body that is whole and complete without any imperfections. (See I Corinthians 15:42–49.)
Change the things that can be changed.
You may not be able to change a physical defect, but positive changes in your attitudes, grooming, personal appearance, and countenance (smile!) can make a big difference in how others respond to you.
Be an example of sensitivity and kindness.
Most people have some physical, mental, emotional, or family defect. If you have experienced rejection from others and learned to accept God’s design for yourself, you should be highly motivated to be gentle and kind to others—especially those with obvious defects. (See Ephesians 4:32.)
Define your role in the family of God.
God has given you a spiritual gift for the benefit of other Christians. (See Romans 12:3–21.) As you develop and exercise your spiritual gift, your physical defect can actually serve as a guide as you minister to others. Your spiritual gift can bring purpose and meaning to a defect when you discover why God allowed it in your life.
Trust God to work all things together for good.
“We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. …
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 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 8:28–29, 38–39).