Do you know some handicapped persons who amaze you by their positive attitudes? I do. After a 29-year record of traffic safety, a Pennsylvania man had his driver’s license revoked because he had no arms. After it was brought to the governor’s attention, however, the State Motor Vehicle Department was ordered to reconsider the decision and allow the man to take a new driver’s test in order to prove his ability.
Holding the steering wheel with his right foot and using his left foot for the floor pedals, the man demonstrated his driving skill. The state policeman who administered the test admitted, “He drove very well. There were no unusual incidents. I took him on the standard driving course and then into downtown Lancaster through normal traffic. He is very capable.” The man with no arms commented, “I don’t feel handicapped at all. A handicap is a state of mind.”
It’s all in your mind
Just think how much more could we do as Christians if we did not excuse ourselves on the grounds of being incapable! Or do we tell ourselves that it’s not quite convenient? When we are asked to teach a Bible class, to witness for Christ, or to serve in some other way, how do we answer? “Oh, I can’t do that! I don’t have that kind of ability.” If this is our response, it’s probably true; we are handicapped by our state of mind. And we allow that self-induced handicap to hinder God’s work!
The Bible says, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). Then it goes on to say how Christ humbled Himself and became obedient to death. By dying to self, we can also become obedient to death. That means that we are to die to self centeredness. When we do so, Christ can live through us in direct proportion to the yieldedness of our lips, hands, feet and intelligence.
Our strength is in God’s grace
God told Paul (and each of us through Paul), “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfect in weakness.” Paul responded joyfully, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties, for when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9, 10). This holds true for us as well.
We see then, that even though we may be inconvenienced by a handicap – be it physical, mental or attitudinal – God is not limited in what He can do through us! In fact, He often uses us for His glory all the more. We can be assured that as we place complete dependence upon Jesus, He will empower us with His strength and enable us to do what He asks us to do. When we allow the Holy Spirit to work through us, our efforts will be far more effective than if performed by some highly talented or intellectually gifts person who relies on himself and fails to see guidance from God. The Apostle Paul was brilliant, but his thorn in the flesh brought him down to complete reliance upon the Lord. And this is what made Paul’s ministry so fruitful.
Some most outstanding Christians have been greatly used for Christ in spite of personal handicaps. Fanny Crosby was blind yet her music has stirred hearts through the years and still does. Joni Eareckson Tada became paralyzed from the neck down while an active teenage in the flower of her youth. Today she inspires millions by allowing God to use all that she is.
Has God been speaking to you about doing something in particular for Him? Have you resisted, thinking yourself too inadequate? Don’t handicap yourself! Claim this ringing proclamation of the Apostle Paul, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).