Helen Keller was deaf and blind from early childhood, yet she became one of the great humanitarians of the 20th Century. When news of her death in 1968 came over the radio, I remember my father said, “There goes a great person.” I was fifteen years old at the time and too self-absorbed to care or understand. Only much later, in my own disability, did I begin to understand what my father meant.
Keller wrote: “When one door of happiness closes another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door we do not see the one that has opened for us.”
Have you or a loved-one acquired a disability or incurable condition? Do you think your happiness and the world you knew are lost because of this? Yes, it may appear that way; the door to your former life may have closed with you on the wrong side of it. As Helen Keller said — and I can attest to the truth of her words — another door opens, but it requires that we look for it.
The new door that opens may take you in a different direction involving new realities. The old self is gone, but a new self can emerge if you are open to it. That new self may be as vital and vibrant as the old self, but you must be open to exploring possibilities that may involve a change in self-identity and self-image and how you fit into the world.
Understand that how the world relates to you will likely change. How you relate to the world is up to you. There will be temptation to become bitter but resist it and turn to Christ for understanding. He has allowed this for a reason.
He may deliver you from your anguish or abide with you through it. What seems like a catastrophe to you may actually be intended to mature your spiritual character and prepare you for the world to come. Be open to God’s leading.
Again, Keller wrote these insightful words: “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience and trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”
And again, I can attest to the wisdom of her words. I have been able to serve God more from my wheelchair than I ever did able-bodied. It was when I finally surrendered my will to Him that He could could use me for His purposes rather than mine.
If you are facing disability or chronic illness, do not give up on life. God has a plan for you. Seek it. Pray. Find your purpose in accordance with the Bible. Go through the new door opened to you to find a world of possibilities. God loves you.