Disability Ministry – Statistics

Disability Ministry – Statistics


>>Well, there are millions of people with
disabilities like Leonore in the world. The impact of disability is especially felt in
developing countries such as El Salvador where Leonore lives. According to the United Nations
80% of the estimated 670 million disabled people in the world live in the developing
world in countries with limited resources. According to the disability world, 97% of
these children will suffer from abuse or neglect, and most will never have access to healthcare
or education. The World Bank reports that 20% of the world’s
poorest of the poor are people with disabilities. The stats go on and on and include some of
the most shocking numbers related to sex trafficking and abuse, injustice, discrimination and even
euthanasia. But fortunately today, our conversation can move beyond the pain and suffering and
into the subject of hope. It has been said that suffering is the common
denominator among all humans. Paul says in Romans 8:20 that ‘all creation groans with
suffering, longing for redemption.’ Everyone will suffer in some way just by the fact that
we live in a fallen world. When we think about the ways that people suffer physically, emotionally,
spiritually, socially, the statistics tell us that people with disabilities, it would
seem, experience an aggravated degree of suffering in all of these areas. As Joni mentioned earlier, if you were to
group those with disabilities from around the world into one area you’ll find those
with the least access to education, healthcare, vocational opportunities, community life and
unfortunately the church itself. We simply cannot deny that suffering exists in the disability
community nor can we deny that a great deal of the suffering comes about not by fact that
they are disabled, but by the world we live in, a world of exclusion, oppression and rejection. While Christ certainly came to relieve suffering,
‘the Spirit of the Lord is upon me,’ Jesus says in Luke 4:18-19, ‘because he’s anointed
me to preach the good news to the poor, to proclaim freedom to the prisoners and recovery
of sight to the blind and release the oppressed.’ He also indicated that the poor would be with
us always. In other words, while Christ came to relieve suffering and bring healing, complete
relief from suffering will not be recognized in this lifetime. For true and eternal healing
is the healing of the soul. The salvation that Christ gives for all of those who believe
and that promise of hope, friends, is just as real for those affected by disability,
the Leonores of this world as it is for any non-disabled person in this world. Paul reminds
us in 2 Corinthians 5 that we dwell in temporary tents while on this earth, but we long for
the permanent building being prepared for those who believe. That is, complete healing
and restoration. What a message of hope we have for those with
physical, bodies or intellectual abilities whose tents, if you will, are torn, broken
and often twisted and entangled with suffering. That in Christ there is an eternal home. That
there is redemption, forgiveness of sins and a relationship with a loving heavenly Father
who will prepare for them an eternal dwelling place. That God has reconciled the world to
himself through Christ for those who believe.

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