A strange paradox takes place when people become caregivers to special needs people. If you didn’t know the families, you would think that a child with Down syndrome or spina bifida or cerebral palsy would be a terrible burden. You’d think that it would be a terrible curse to be stuck with years, even decades, of the enormous responsibility of that level of care.
Actually the reverse occurs. The family is ennobled and lifted up by learning how to be servants. Family members find that the joy of helping someone, especially someone who is weaker, provides much more lasting satisfaction than playing video games and watching TV. The family develops a huge friend network because they need so much help. The very pain and struggle in their lives provides a platform for authentic sharing of the gospel with the multitude of professionals and aides with whom they interact.
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress” (James 1:27). We all crave significance. What could be more significant than living our lives the way Jesus lived his—using our gifts, our time, our energy, our passion and love, bringing benefit to the lives of other people who need us.
Pastor Mark Jeske has been bringing the Word of God to viewers of Time of Grace since the program began airing in late 2001. A Milwaukee native, Pastor Jeske has served as the senior pastor at St. Marcus, a multicultural congregation on Milwaukee’s near north side since 1980. In addition, he is the author of six books and dozens of devotional booklets on various topics.
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