Happy May, friends! What a day to be alive!
This morning, I woke up with that “you need to write some words that maybe, hopefully, possibly could mean something” feeling. And, after doing devotions, I know exactly what it is.
You know those verses that just really fuel your mind and body and heart and you read it over and over because, wow, God is so cool? Yeah, that is the feeling I had when I read this verse from 2 Corinthians 12 in the Message:
“Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,
My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.
Through my first year of being a Special Education major, I have become so fascinated with the brain of the “abnormal.” Thus, reading this verse, I thought of how fascinated God is with our brains, too.
You see, if I woke up this morning with a disability, I would be asking God why, I would feel hopeless, I would believe that God doesn’t care about me or my wellbeing. This is because I have been so healthy and have never been limited because of the way I am and what my body has the capabilities of doing, and, it would just be hard.
But, think about a time when you talked to an autistic child. Now, you tell me they weren’t one of the happiest people you have ever met.
You can’t tell me that, because they were ecstatic to meet you and wanted to talk or hold your hand or hug you forever and they were just SO ADORABLE. Right?
Right. Satan tried. God succeeded.
God is so in love with us that he never leaves our side. He puts a Goliath in front of us to find the David within us. He is enthralled with loving us and simply wants us to love Him back with all that we have to love.
I pray that you enjoy what I have to say today. I pray that you will allow Jesus to work in your heart and you will be bold in your faith. I know that blogs from a 19 year old, Special Education major with limited experience in writing aren’t perfect, but bare with me as I dive into what Jesus put on my heart this morning.
This verse is a depiction of what it means to be weak. Setting forth the knowledge that everyone is given hardships and handicaps to put us in our place. We realize who we are and what power we actually have over ourselves, our circumstances, and our lives. Which, to be real, is not much. We realize our limitations not when we are thriving, everything is going perfect and we are winning every day of the week, but when we are going though a hardship, losing something or someone, experiencing sickness, or any other rough patch that God leads us into.
We learn who we are and who God is when something has been disabled and we have been pushed down to our knees. Before you crumble completely, stay on your knees and worship Him– He will supply you with the strength to rise up if you are open to Him.
When we beg God to remove this hardship because it is a disadvantage to us and interferes with our daily life, we are giving up because it is not normal.
Lets pause and reverse, then play it back to a few sentences up about the people on earth with disabilities. If waking up and doing your morning routine was a struggle to accomplish all on it’s own, how would you feel? How would your thoughts about God’s love for you change? Because really, I don’t know if I would think about it much as a gift.
One of my professors told a story of a time when she was an elementary teacher and had a student who had to use permanent crutches. So, she had another pair of crutches in the classroom so others could try it and experience what the student with the disability was experiencing every day of his life. So, students would try it and she told them that if they were going to try it, they needed to try it for the whole day. But… Recess came. At that point, it was inconvenient for the student trying it out and so they put the crutches aside to go play with their friends and run around how they’re used to.
If only. If only everyone could just set their handicap aside and not have limitations set on them when it became an inconvenience. Which, I think, would be 100% of the time.
But let’s read this one more time…
My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Wow, again. THE GRACE OF GOD IS ALL WE NEED!! It doesn’t even make sense, how His grace works, because we do not deserve it. It doesn’t make sense, at first, to be set back, because we do not think it is fair. We must saturate deeper into our root, Jesus Christ, and be certain in the knowledge that this is how we grow. We learn so much through our struggles, whether they be permanent handicaps or a bad day.
Put a GO in front of Disable.
God is able.
God is able to pick you up, no matter your disability, no matter your handicap, no matter your bad day, and give you strength. He is able to empower you. He is able to use you and love you and change you.
This is where God’s strength comes in and takes over!! For goodness sakes, He rose His one and only son from the dead!!!! I am sure it wasn’t convenient for Jesus, the son of God, to be nailed to a cross and killed, but He knew that there was so much more to Himself than he thought and let God work in him and give Him the ability and strength to come ALIVE.
By the grace of God, Jesus died on the cross for our sins. By the grace of God, Jesus rose and is seated at the right hand of our Father, ready to receive us and love us and give us the strength to continue and grow as we let Him work within us.
Having a handicap does not mean that you are not loved, it means that God has given you the strength to endure it. It means that He knows you are strong enough to handle it. He has given you the tools, the mindset, the love and the endurance to stand strong in Him and be confident that you are able.
And once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I am glad to let Satan try to kick me down because he will not succeed. No matter what happens, I pray that you and I and the rest of the world will come to the realization that focusing on the bad things and letting them kick me down will not add a single moment to life.
The weaker I get, the stronger I become. For You, Jesus, are all that I need today.
Through only 9 months of Special Education, I have learned that there is so much more to learn about a person and to teach them that anything is possible. I have so much more to learn, but I pray that God will direct me and you to grow in our weaknesses and learn from the examples of others, especially those who have it so much worse than us.
So, keep your crutches. Learn from the hard times and adjust to life in the present moment. Do not just look at what you will invest or what price you will have to pay, because the payoff will be so much more than one could ever imagine, I pinky promise.
There are so many worse circumstances I could be placed in. There are so many different bodies an brains I could have been born with. There are so many times that I can think of that I responded to a situation with complaining, grumbling or self pity. But, it is time it live out the reality that His grace is all that I need and His power is made perfect in my weakness. I am so thankful for this healthy body of mine. But, I am also so thankful for the human beings that show me, through their disability or different working brain, what it looks like to live life in a way that is not according to circumstances, but through strength and understanding that this is the life they have been given. I admire so much their passion for life, their kind heart, their perseverance, and their contagious joy. I cannot imagine the daily struggles encounter each and every moment, but that pure, raw happiness has revealed so much more to me than I ever thought.
Be kind to those who are different than you, be kind to those who are similar, be kind to everyone. For everyone has their own hardships, but let me tell you, friends; they are becoming so much stronger.