Popular opinion holds that a disabling life event is likely to destroy a person's faith. A research project studying 26 men and women who had acquired permanent disabilities relegating them to wheelchair living revealed the opposite:
53% found their faith was increased by their disability.
31% "kept their faith" despite the challenges of disability.
8% found faith through their disability.
8% described their faith as "uncertain".
0% lost their faith.
Reactions of the individuals:
1. God-believers experienced God as a "presence"-someone to talk to, to question, someone who listens.
2. God's help was described as --providing, protecting, giving strength, endurance and patience, and understanding their struggles and caring about them.
3. Several believe that God someohow gave them their disability but they did not feel bitter or betrayed.
4. All indicated that "talking to people gives meaning to their lives." They agreed that feeling lonely and different is common.
46% (12) hate the wheelchair and want to get out of it.
31% (8) said they accepted wheelchair living.
23% (6) were ambivalent. They both hate it and accept it.
100% agreed that "to walk again" is a dream that never leaves.
69% (18) express a hopeful attitude.
8% held hopeless feelings
23% were mixed with both hopeful and helpless feelings
"Hope" means not giving up. Hope is fueled by a faith in God. Hope blossoms when friends and family are close, supportive and encouraging.