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Kindness Korner

Does Disability Destroy Faith?

Disability Can Build Faith

Popular opinion holds that a physical disability is likely to destroy or weaken one’s faith. The opposite is true. A research project studied 26 men and women who had acquired permanent disabilities relegating them to wheelchair living. Here are the results of that study:
---53 % revealed their faith had been increased by their disability.
---31 % said they had “kept their faith” in spite of the challenges of their disability.
---8 % claimed they actually found faith because of their disability.
---8 % described their faith as “uncertain”.
---0 % lost their faith

Additional Findings:
God-believers explained that they experienced God as “a presence” they could talk with, question; someone who listened to them.
God’s help was described as –providing, protecting, giving- strength, endurance, and patience. Also someone who cared and understood their struggles.
A few believed God gave them their disability but they felt no bitterness or betrayal.
All indicated that talking to people gave meaning to their life. They also admitted that feeling lonely and different was common.

The Wheelchair:
---46 % (12) hate the wheelchair and want out of it.
---31% (8) said they accepted wheelchair living.
---23 % (6) were ambivalent (they both hated the wheelchair and accepted it).
Even those who indicated acceptance of the wheelchair made it clear that their acceptance did not exclude a desire to walk again: “That never leaves!”

The 46 % who hated, and did not accept, the wheelchair, expressed anger at the wheelchair; carried clear memories of life before the wheelchair and reported feeling confined, uncomfortable and painful.

---69% (18) expressed hopeful outlooks.
---8% (2) held hopeless feelings.
---23% (6) carried a mixture of both hopeful and hopeless feelings.

HOPE---This means not giving up. It is fueled by faith in God. Hope blossoms when friends and family are close, supportive and encouraging.

Maybe those for whom life is smooth and easy are the ones who lose their faith.


  1. What an interesting study! Would you mind sharing the journal or website from which you read it? I'd love to read the whole thing.

  2. I have always felt that it is the people who have the most and blessed with their health have the hardest hearts, toward other people, but, especially toward God. Hardness of heart is the most crippling in our lives. It destroys all who are around them. It seems to always be that a person with a physical handicap has a loving nature, which is far better than an athlete full of bitterness. It is amazing to me how a person who seems to "have it all" is miserable, hurtful and selfish. People who are less fortunate care more for God and others, than their own situation.