Monday, February 26, 2007

Handicap or Advantage?

Yesterday morning, turning on the TV, I happened upon The Hour of Power to see a close up view of Robert Schuler interviewing a guest.
I was immediately impressed by the guest’s young handsome face and engaging smile . Then I was drawn by his sincere words of love praising God for his life.
When the camera pulled back to show the larger picture I realized that this young man had no limbs – no arms , no legs , just one appendage he laughingly calls a chicken foot dangling from the bottom of his trunk.

The young man’s name is Nick Vujicic and he is 24 years old. He was born without limbs, a birth defect for which there still is no medical explanation.. His mother’s first words when she saw him were, “Take him away!”
Not only were his parents Christians, his father was a pastor and they worked through their initial shock and grief and accepted the challenge that God had literally laid in their laps.
At first they did not expect Nick to live long, but then they realized he was a healthy baby boy, the only thing wrong was that he was missing a few limbs.
I cannot imagine the difficulties, the pain, the questions they faced trying to make life anything close to normal for themselves and their son.
Australia, his home country, did not allow children with disabilities to attend regular schools, but Nick's mother fought for her son’s rights and won, the result being that he was the first disabled child to attend school with ‘normal’ children.
He graduated from university with a double degree in accounting and financial planning.

He is honest about his emotional struggles , the physical obstacles that have confronted him and the agony of facing life being ‘different’. Growing up he felt that there was no hope or purpose in his life. But then as a teenager he grasped the truth of Jer. 20:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil to give you an expected end.”
He began to believe that God had not turned away from him, that he was not a mistake, but that God had a plan and a purpose for his life.
Nick has a special concern to reach out to teens who feel life is so futile that they are considering suicide.

It is so easy to look at Nick and think that life with his disabilities would not be worth living. If we judge by the world’s standards of what is important and necessary to make life full and rich , then success without limbs would be impossible.
But if we consider that the highest purpose of this life is an opportunity to praise and glorify God , then Nick has a decided advantage. When he speaks of God’s love and power in his life he has a captive audience. People cannot help but recognize that this young man is ‘different’, not because he has no limbs but because he has found a depth of joy and peace and meaning in life that has escaped most people. He is an inspiration and encouragement where ever he goes and a wonderful example of obedience to Matt. 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

One of his comments when he was talking with Robert Schuler yesterday morning, was “You cannot compare sufferings.” His point was that everyone has suffered in their life and each person’s suffering is real and deep.
We can always look at someone else and feel that we could not bear their load , and then are surprised when they feel they could not bear someone else’s. I think the answer is in
I Cor. 10:13 “There has no temptation taken you but such as in common to man but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able..but will with the temptation also make a way to escape that ye many be able to bear it.”
What God has promised is that He will always give you the strength to bear what He gives you to carry.
I know that has always been true in my life.

Observing someone like Nick has a way of adjusting our focus away from our own problems and onto the many things for which we can be so thankful, not the least of which is having an opportunity to observe what God can do with a life surrendered to Him.
Nick's example encourages us not to look at our ‘handicaps’ as something that prevents us from doing life – but that given to God they can be our enablers.
God truly makes no mistakes…and “all things do work out for good to them that love God and are called according to His purposes.” (Rom. 8:28)

(Nick has a website called 'Life without Limbs')


Lovella ♥ said...

I often enjoy the interviews while I'm whipping together brunch but I missed that one. You are so right about not comparing our sufferings. What an inspring story.

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

I once saw (heard) the idea that if we were all to sit in a circle and trade hardships like playing cards it would make for a very interesting time. Would any one say: I'll trade my physical handicap for your loss of a child? Or I'll trade my molestation as a child for your pain of accidently killing someone?

Demara said...

Thank-you Julie! WOW! What a is true that it is easy to compare our own sufferings to another and feel that perhaps theirs is worse or mine is worse and so forth but to remember that we are all suffering the same in God's eyes is so true...Suffering is suffering!!! (Maybe I should have used that word instead of asthmatically sick, hey? haha I'm just kidding~)Thanks again for a rare great *upward-thinking* read that is so hard to find now adays in this world. I LOVE IT! I LOVE THEM, ALL OF THEM!!!