Faith and Disability – can they exist together?
John first came to a Faith in Jesus Christ around the age of 17. He worshipped and served at the Salvation Army Kilkenny Corps. John attended their youth group as well as playing cricket and basketball for the Salvos.
In the following years, John and his family worshipped at Semaphore, Adelaide and Campbelltown Corps. Then had a period away from the church. Later, the family attended the Regent Garden Corps for a few years and left the church again. During his time at the Salvos, he was committed to serving God, in a variety of roles including Sunday school; youth group leadership; desktop publishing; drama; worship group and others.
Bad things happen in threes
John believes in thinking for himself, rather than blindly accepting everything said in church. Jesus worked this way. The family didn’t return to church until after a series of three dramatic events. It started with a tree falling on John. He went through periods of time blaming God for the accident and felt he was a modern version of Job. Unlike Job, John was angry at God and later realised human error caused the event, not God. We cannot blame God for the actions of others. It gives God a bad name if we do.
The second event occurred a year after the accident. While still in rehab, John awoke from sleep in pain so severe he thought to die was a better option. He developed a cyst in the spine and underwent three operations to prevent further paralysis. Unfortunately, the pain remained.
The third event was a marriage breakdown, resulting in his wife leaving the family in March 2012. Life got too hard for John, and he attempted self-harm. During his attempt, an unexpectant visitor stopped him, and John spent the next day in mental health care. During this time he heard the words, “You don’t belong here”. His mental health improved over time. The timing of the visitor combined with the words could only have come from God.
A second chance to live and be happier in life, although coming from God, required John to take action. The changes didn’t happen overnight, and he didn’t do it by himself. John and his family are worshipping and serving at Rise Church, Lightsview, Adelaide.
Faith and Disability can co-exist. Contact John here to share your thoughts.