Many Challenges

February 20, 2016
by Cassandra Wessel

June Heale wrote the following in the PresbyCan Daily devotional of January 12, 2016, titled "Vertically Challenged?":

    I wonder if, like me, you are vertically challenged. I used to be five feet two inches, not the tallest in the world — and me with six-foot brothers and a mother who was five feet eight inches. Now in my old age, I have shrunk to just barely over five feet …

Like June, I am vertically challenged and thus could put a ditto mark after most of what she wrote. But unlike June, I had only one six-foot-something brother, and my mother was shorter than I am now!

Being five feet short presents challenges in my daily living. For instance, if I want to reach anything atop my refrigerator or in my upper cabinets or on the closet's top shelf, I must haul out the step stool to reach the item. My short height means that I must use extra effort to achieve my goal. It also means that I can have compassion for those who are even shorter than I am. Their lives are harder than mine, requiring more effort and ingenious adaptations in their environment. For example, when my four-foot-eight-inch short cousin built her home, she had the kitchen designed for her height by lowering countertops and upper cupboards. Instead of adapting herself to her environment, she adapted it to fit her needs.

Jesus had enormous compassion for the physically challenged. Instead of adapting the environment to make life easier for them, He healed the sick, lame, deaf, speechless, and many blind people, but once near Bethsaida, He had challenges to overcome.

Mark 8:22-25 – They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man's eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, "Do you see anything?" He looked up and said, "I see people; they look like trees walking around." Once more Jesus put his hands on the man's eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. (NIV)

Unfortunately, not everyone is healed, but like Jesus, we must have compassion for those with such challenges. Particularly, there are devices and adaptations that our churches can install for their assistance. We can build ramps and elevators for sanctuary access by wheelchairs. We need to make sure that transportation to church is provided for those without. We can put raised Braille dots on entry doors and ensure that there are ushers to assist the blind to their seats. For the hearing-impaired, there are wonderful hearing-assistance devices, and printed words can be displayed on overhead screens. For people like my son who are mentally challenged, and for those whose mother tongue is not English, sermon points can be shown on an overhead screen written in words that are easy to read and understand.

Prayer: Lord God, enable us always to be sensitive to the needs of those who are physically challenged. We pray for Your healing hands to touch the infirm and those with mental and physical challenges, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

About the author:

Cassandra Wessel <casswessel@ymail.com>
Tionesta, Pennsylvania, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Good one Cass, Thank you!
    Thanks for such a good reminder Cass.


    Ah, but you are tall in spirit-the most important thing!!


    Amen Cass. Good word today.
    Blessings.


    Cassandra, My wife is only 4-11, I’m 5-4, Jesus said (Lo) I am with you always.
    (Canada)


    I found your thinking one of sincere needs and was pleased to note your thoughts were inspired from another devotional — shows we are in tune and moved by others. God bless.


    Sandy,
    I never thought of you as short, but as a giant in the Lord!
    Thanks!
    God bless you.


    Cass, your devotional brought to mind Zacchaeus in the Bible. He was determined not to allow his short height to prevent him from seeing the Lord in a large crowd!
    Thank you for sharing some great ideas for churches to include handicapped members in their Sunday service.
    Blessings.


    Dear Cassandra,
    This is a very compassionate devotional with a number of fine ideas for persons at home and in churches.
    With Jesus, dear God, cause us to be compassionate.
    Keep writing — for Jesus’ sake.
    Thank you very much.


    Dear Cass – Your devotional brought back an incident one day which occurred when I was backing out of the carport several years ago; I couldn’t see out any of the side & rear mirrors, I knew someone had changed them. As it turned out, it was me who had shrunk by almost 2 in. Thanks for giving us ways in which we can make the lives of our handicapped readers more manageable.


    Thanks, Cassandra, for sharing your insights about the needs of those who may not readily and easily voice the ever-present challenges they face daily. I.e. How many people, when installing a paper-towel dispenser in a public washroom, would think to place it within reach for a person in a wheelchair? These are the little things that really matter. Access is more than just a word or idea for all of us.
    Continued blessings.


    Thank you Cass for the spiritual challenge.
    Addressing mental and physical challenges — topics very close to our hearts.
    May God Bless you richly.


    Hi Cass, Didn’t know you were vertically challenged.I’ve dropped from 5’6 to 5’4 so still got you beat.
    Good suggestions to help the vertically challenged. Hope someone picks up on them.

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