Why did God allow me to have a handicapped father?
The following testimony is given by a man who attended a counseling course and shared insights he found when he asked the question, “Why does God let bad things happen?”
Like most young people, I found fault with my parents and rejected God’s design for my family. One serious problem was the fact that my father was an amputee. He had lost one leg while serving in the Navy in World War II. As a child, I sometimes envied other children whose fathers were not handicapped like mine.
By thinking through the answer to this question [Why did God let it happen?], I have not only accepted this as God’s special design for our family but have often thanked Him for the unexpected benefits it brought in my life:
- To teach me to be thankful for a healthy body
God allowed me to be born with a healthy body that I can use for His kingdom and for His glory.
- To teach me not to be afraid of those with handicaps
Many people are fearful of those who are handicapped in some way. Those who are raised in homes such as ours, where they can see people overcoming these difficulties daily, have fewer fears about being handicapped and are more at ease with those who have handicaps. I have been able not only to be at ease with people but also to comfort others as well. My ministry has been more effective because of my father’s condition.
- To teach me to appreciate my country and those in the military
My father and mother often shared with us that we live in a great nation. Since my father was in the Navy when he lost his leg, my brother and I were motivated to honor others who served our country in the military and we were willing to go and do likewise, even in the difficult Vietnam era.
- To give me an example of personal sacrifice
One of God’s greatest calls is for us to give ourselves totally to the Lord. My father gave of himself for his country, and it cost him a leg. I cannot remember a single time when he complained about his condition or expressed bitterness over it. This has been a powerful motivation for me to give myself totally to the Lord and not to fear the consequences.
- To give me an example of overcoming physical difficulties
As a child growing up, my father did everything he put his mind to. He played ball with us, took us on walks, and went hunting and fishing with us. Much of the time, we did not think of Dad as being disabled. My friends would usually not even believe me if I told them Dad was missing one leg. This reminds me that “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).
- To remind me of the consequences of violating God’s Word
Dad would often warn us against dangerous activities and then use his lost leg as an example of what could happen. When we violate God’s Word, there are always consequences. They are not all physical. Nevertheless, they are there to warn us that the Lord is watching and that He cares about our eternal souls so much that He is willing to sacrifice our temporary happiness to develop eternal character.
- To help me grow closer to my father and give me a basis for special, lasting memories
My father used his condition to develop a closeness with us children that remains today. We have memories of Dad chasing us around the house on crutches and how we would help him into the water at the beach. My dad’s weakness (although we never thought of it that way) was something that endeared us to him all the more.
- To give me an object lesson on being prepared for emergencies
Whenever Dad took us fishing on a boat, he carried a sharp knife in his pocket. He shared with us that he had it in the event that the boat capsized and he would have to cut his artificial leg loose. (The leg was heavier than water and would pull him down and drown him if he could not get rid of it soon enough.)
It has been a real joy to be able to tell my parents with genuine appreciation how much the Lord did for me through them. I have also been able to counsel teens that the Lord did not make a mistake when he gave them their parents.
—A pastor from Nebraska
This testimony is found in A Comprehensive Course in Effective Counseling, Booklet Five, pages 7–8.