Did God Make Me This Way?

I never thought about this pertaining to me before. Due to the ongoing discussion of the gay issue, we often see the discussion about whether God made people gay, whether it is a quirk of nature, whether it is learned behavior or any combination thereof.

I’d like to apply that same set of reasoning to a different biology discussion. That of my birth defect.

I was born with a combination cleft lip and cleft palate.  It is the most common birth defect occurring about 1 in 600 births. Birth defects in general affect one out of 33 babies born in the US. (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/birthdefects.html) They range from very minor to so severe the child cannot survive.

Why would God do this to His children? He is their Father.

From the age of about 3 days and continuing on into adulthood, I had numerous operations to correct my breathing and eating problems and to make my appearance more normal. From an early age, I was teased and make fun of by other children, even my own brother because of how I looked and talked. I had speech therapy from a very small age and into High School.  I became very, very self-conscious by the time I was about 11 years old. The problem, in large part, made me both shy around people I didn’t know, but comfortable around my close friends who knew me. I didn’t participate in class very much and I fell in love with the refrigerator.

I never contemplated suicide as it was not a very popular option when I was younger (like it seems to be now) and I don’t remember being depressed about the situation very much, except when it came to getting dates. My shyness was probably the greatest inhibiting factor.

Why would God do this to me? He is my Father.

I grew a mustache as soon as I could and a beard shortly thereafter to hide behind. It has helped a lot over the years.

I eventually decided to no longer let my problem affect my life. I still wasn’t very good at the dating scene, but I did get up enough courage to meet and date my wife. We’ve been married for 28 years and have 5 children. And, I joined the LDS Church as well.

I never questioned whether God made me this way. I had enough classes in biology to understand that sometimes nature and pregnant mothers (diet, smoking, etc.) make mistakes and you end up with a situation that might not be normal. In some cases, the situation is actually a positive thing, as people can be much smarter than normal or born with some other very desirable attribute. It doesn’t always have to be a negative occurrence.

If you follow the reasoning that God made me this way, then perhaps my lip and palate should not have been repaired. After all, this is the way he wanted me to be.

But, again, I never believed that God made me this way. It is, in fact, a quirk of nature, outside the norm, attributable to both biological and external forces at work before birth.

One of the things I have learned about God, our Father, is that He lets things happen and does not intervene very often in normal processes. Even when those processes don’t turn out exactly right. Some would say we are given these challenges as a means to grow and learn while in this life. I am not so sure. We all have challenges of one kind or another throughout our lives. But are they given to us?

Why would God do that to us?  He is our Father.