Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Does God Make Down syndrome?

There are many great mysteries in this world.

Why does an infant die? Why does a loved one gets diagnosed with a terminal illness? And my own personal struggle of: Why is an innocent baby born with Down syndrome and congestive heart failure?



There are many things that happen in this world that don't make sense. Yet something within my human nature looks for the deeper understanding of why these things happen.

When my daughter was born with Down syndrome and a heart defect, it seemed that there were two strong schools of thought in the Christian community on this subject.

1. Down syndrome is something that comes from God.

People who believe this say things like: God has to make so many people with Down syndrome, and He chose you. God gives special children to special parents. God chose you to be her parents because He knew you could handle it. Having a child like Jaycee is a special blessing from God. Special kids are special blessings.

The Down syndrome diagnosis is something that should be embraced and accepted. It is viewed in a positive light.

The best scripture I found that supports this idea is found in Exodus 4:11 when God is speaking to Moses. The Lord said to him, "Who has made man's mouth? Or who makes him mute or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?..." NABS

Then there's the other thought in the Christian world that I have encountered:

2. Down syndrome is not from God, so it needs healed.

People who believe this say things like: Perhaps you sinned and brought this into your child's life. Maybe your child was born this way because of a generational curse or a demon. You need to pray that God will take this away from your daughter. If you prayed hard enough or had enough faith, your child would be healed. God doesn't want your child to struggle.

The Down syndrome diagnosis is seen as a problem. It is a sign that someone mostly likely did something wrong that caused this bad thing to happen. The diagnosis should be prayed against and not accepted. You should have faith to believe God can take it away or at least make the child function close to normal even with the diagnosis. In other words, Down syndrome is a very negative thing. Pity, shame, and condemnation can come to parents with this viewpoint.

The best scripture I found that supports this idea is found in Matthew 4:23-24. Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people. The news about Him spread throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all who were ill, those suffering with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, paralytics; and He healed them. NASB

Which is right??

Here's where I struggle with the first idea. If God does make someone with Down syndrome, how can I pray for Jaycee? How can I pray for God to help her read or talk or be better if she was created that way? With all of Jaycee's health issues and struggles, did God create someone to suffer and be sick often? Did God intend for her to struggle for some great lesson?

I have problems with the second idea too. If God doesn't want anyone to have Down syndrome, then how do I accept the fact that she does have it? It seems like if I accept her Down syndrome as is, then I somehow lack faith to believe she'll be different. And if I can't pray it away, then what does that mean for me? Am I to always be looked at in a negative light with "open doors" because my kid is sick often? If I no longer wish to spend my prayer time praying for her to be healed of her Down syndrome, am I giving up? When the Christians who talk about how abortion is never acceptable just because of a prenatal diagnosis but then demand that child be healed when they are born just seems completely odd to me!

Some people are very comforted by the thought that God created their child with Down syndrome for a purpose. Others are fine with thinking their child needs prayer for the Down syndrome to be removed. I have never been 100% comfortable with either scenario. I felt there was too much focus on her disabilities and labels and not her soul and humanity.

Is there a third option?
My pastor at Crossroads Bible Church did a series on Spiritual Living and it offered me new ways to think about our lives here on earth. Here's some things I learned from that series:
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:23: Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. NASB  Jaycee is a spirit being with a soul (mind, will, emotions) in an earthly body.
  • John 4:24: God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. God is a spirit.
  • Genesis 1:26: Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds..."  We are ALL made in the image of God, even Jaycee!!
  • Then I started reflecting on the Lord's Prayer in Matthew 6 which specifically tells us to pray: Your Kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
  • I also reflected on John 10:10: The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
After looking at many scriptures, I came to the following conclusions:

I don't believe that everything that happens is necessarily God's will just because it happens. We are told to pray for God's will to be done on earth. I don't believe that every diagnosis and every bad thing that happens is God's will.

I think when God made the earth and put Adam and Eve on it, He had a great, perfect plan. When Adam and Eve messed up, disobeyed God, and brought sin in the earth, the earth no longer had a perfect plan. There were negative influences that disrupted that plan that sought to steal, kill, and destroy the earth and the people on it.

While I do believe that sin, generational curses, our poor decisions, and our actions CAN result in a negative outcome manifesting in our life on earth. I also think that bad things happen because we live on an earth that isn't perfect. The earth is not Heaven. Heaven is a place our minds can't comprehend because heartache and suffering are regular parts our lives here on earth. I do think bad things can also occur for no reason at all simply because we live on earth.

I think when the doctor told me that Jaycee's extra chromosome was just a fluke occurrence that happens to an earthly body, I can FINALLY accept that now. I no longer search for a deeper meaning to it. It happened because stuff can happen to our earthly bodies. People can think I sinned or fell short or God made her that way. But, I found more peace when I just accepted the first explanation as to why Jaycee had Down syndrome that was given to me by that NICU doctor. It just happened. It could have happened to anyone living on the earth, but it happened to me.

Jaycee is still made in God's image regardless of her chromosome count. She has a spirit that will spend eternity in Heaven and has a soul. She feels emotions, she has will to choose, and she has thoughts....many of which involve Barney the dinosaur. God sees a person that He loves when He looks at Jaycee. The world judges her as less than or as less successful but God looks inside. I can look past her perceivable imperfections on her body and look deeper inside. She is someone that God loves regardless if she is healed or not. I think I'll focus on that instead.

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15 comments:

  1. Amen! and Amen! I went through the same thought process Evana! And now I also focus on- He has plans and purposes for us- period- whether we have down syndrome. Blessings to you!

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  2. Im a young grandma who has been searching for answers why this happen to my daughter she was diagnosed with her pregnancy having downs she will be having a girl shes due in a week and now because of you I can understand why this is happening and I cant wait to meet my precious granddaughter . Thank you for sharing your faith with me. Lina Henegar

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  3. Im a young grandma who has been searching for answers as to why this happen to my daughter. Her pregnancy was diagnosed with down syndrome. But now because of your faith I can understand why this happen and she is due in a week with a girl I cant wait to meet my granddaughter I have a re newed faith thank you sooo much .

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  4. Thank you! I can breathe again! You put what I was feeling into words!

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  5. I have heard about positive and negative sides just like what you posted in the beginning.

    I will have to disagree with people when they say, "God chose you to be her parents because He knew you could handle it." or "God will not give you more than you can handle". God will often give us something that is more than we can handle so we can give it to the One who can handle it. We can see that in the Bible over and over with God's people. They were given tasks by God but they are overwhelmed and couldn't do it without Him. They all have to depend on Him so we have to depend on Him, too.

    I will have to disagree with people who says, "Perhaps you sinned and brought this into your child's life. Maybe your child was born this way because of a generational curse or a demon." Someone asked Jesus whether it was the man born blind or his parents who had sinned. Jesus responded "neither" and explained that this man's blindness existed "in order that the works of God might be displayed in him (John 9:1-3). His point is clear: the disability existed so that He might heal this man. While this is a specific example, a general principle lies behind it. God allows some people and not others to be disabled in order to accomplish His purposes.

    I will also have to disagree with people who says that you are lacking faith or does not have enough faith. This is nowhere taught in the Bible but is based on a misunderstanding of Matthew 17:20 and 1 Corinthians 13:2 where nothing is impossible with faith. The clear teaching of the Bible is that we must pray as those who submit our wills to God - if it is God's will, He certainly can heal a person's disability. That happened during Jesus ministry and a few events in the Old Testament and the early church. Most would agree it could happen today. But it has always been done for the glory of God and often for the growth of the individual.

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  6. I will also like to share some of my thoughts. You can see I already added a few things about what I disagree with. I couldn't put everything because it is limited. so here it is...

    The way I see this - God is the potter and we are the clay, we are all the work of His hand. (Isaiah 64:8). God gave you a beautiful daughter and He is working in you through her. She is teaching you how to help others, to show compassion and mercy towards others. God is our Father of mercies and of all comfort.
    (2 Corinthians 1:3-7)

    So now you know that some people are healed and some aren't. God has a reason for us. I also wanted to share this where Paul speaks of his thorn and asked God to heal him but God didn't because God wanted Paul to depend on Him.

    2 Corinthians 12:7-10 - So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

    I love this! God may not heal me physically on this earth but He promise that He will walk with me through my journey on this Earth! I have learned to depend on Him through my weakness everyday in my life. This is not my glory but it is His glory. I have been in Deaf ministry for a few years and I will tell you this. In USA, there is only 1%, maybe 2% that has been set up for Deaf ministry/Deaf church. Around 250-300 million Deaf people worldwide and only 2% of them are Christians. You can see that my weakness is to glorify God so that I can talk to others who are like me and bring them to Christ.

    I've already seen how the society or the world, how they acted towards people who are different physically like your daughter or me. Believe me… I've been there, done that and still is. I have seen that people like your daughter, me and others are being looked down upon, thinking that we are not important and that we are foolish to the world or the society.
    1 Corinthians 1:27-29
    "But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. "

    That is also speaks to believers like us. so His love is in you so that your daughter see and come into His presence, Jesus Christ, and accept Him as her Savior. God will use your daughter in mighty ways and she has nothing to fear! God values everyone. He values you. He values her. He values me, too. ;)

    You can see that God is working in your life and your daughter's. You will look back and see God is working through seasons of your life with your daughter.
    1 Corinthians 13:12 - "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. "

    This is such wonderful news! It is our opportunity to serve God when we are on this Earth! What an awesome God we serve! We have to remember that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28).


    Enjoy your journey with God and your daughter! :)

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    Replies
    1. So in short, the parents does not sinned , neither are they special to handle special children, so does god makes a clay"infant" with downs to suffer just for the parents and the ones around them to learn compassion and glorify himself? I'm so perplexed...

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    2. Hi Tiredsoul! Thanks for reading. I was once perplexed too. The last part of my post gives what I truly believe on this subject. This is that some things happen that are neither God's plan nor anyone's fault but as a result of just living in a world with imperfections (thus illness, disorders, syndromes). I do believe we have opportunities to show love and grace to those who need extra help but they weren't necessarily created for that purpose. Again, I feel God is mainly responsible for the soul and may not be responsible for how the body develops.

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    3. Tiredsoul - Actually, I have seen some parents (not all) who doesn't really care about children with special needs. I have seen it way often in special education programs. In God's eyes, He loves them no matter what. We need to have God's heart and His eyes to "see" beyond it and show them love in any way we can. Thanks for your comment.

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    4. And oh, Tiredsoul. I would also like to add one more thing. Just not to misunderstand me. This also applies to "normal" people. The truth is we all have "disability/disabilities" in different forms/ways. Just to offer you a different perspective. God loves us anyway.

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  7. What an awesome post! I came across your blog sitting here drinking my coffee in the mall. I sat down and a beautiful young lady with Downs came up to her mother gently giving her a kiss. I am a Christian and have to say your post was literally the best piece of writing on this subject that I have ever read. I will add a third idea: God has sent these beautiful angels to show us how to love one another. - Blessings.

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  8. When I see someone with downsyndrome I think of Mathew 18:2-4
    He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

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  9. The "Anonomyous" poster hit the nail on the head with their comment. Don't take what this person said lightly, but take it to heart. Everyone ring this or son said is completely correct, Scripturally speaking. God doesn't allow us to pick and choose what we believe, as His divine character is perfectly laid out for us in the Scriptures. Praying that God will open your spiritual eyes and ears may be the key to your understanding. Love to you!!

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  10. The comment that the anonymous poster made is so the perfectly correct, Scripturally speaking. When revealing His divine character and nature to us, God lays out in His Word perfectly His will. Praying for your spiritual eyes and ears to be opened may be the key to your understanding.

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