I just watched a video of this inspirational singer on the Xfactor. She was born with a disability in her hands and she had to learn how to do things differently, things many of us take for granted. Yet, she remained such a positive person.
She made me think of the many people who have inspired me that were born with a physical disability. Nick Vujicic is another example of an extraordinary person who was born with a severe setback, or at least that’s how many of us would see it when we first look at him. He has no arms and no legs. But he is so full of joy, kindness, and compassion for others. Joni Eareckson Tada is another one of these extraordinary people. She was paralyzed from the neck down as a teenager and has used her situation to start a ministry helping disabled people all around the world. She has a deep love for the Lord and is full of wisdom from the trials she has faced.
These are just some of the people that the world might look at and at first pity them… but when you hear them speak, you see they are full of more joy and strength than most of us. They seem to have a strong endurance from having to learn to do everything the hard way with their disability. It’s almost like any trial they face in their life doesn’t phase them because they’ve chosen to use obstacles to make them stronger.
As I was pondering all of this I thought, “it’s almost like the physical disability is a gift.” I don’t mean to belittle the difficulties they face every day. What I mean is that these people have great character and if you were to meet them, they probably would be some of the coolest people you’ve ever met. A lot of it is due to them persevering and having a positive attitude through their trials. Instead of living a life of depression and bitterness, they have chosen to let these difficulties make them stronger.
Then the thought occurred to me, “maybe that’s why the bible says we should rejoice when trials come our way… Or that we are blessed when we’re persecuted, because those hardships produce in us the character I admire in these inspirational people.” The bible says, “We rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character, and character hope.” Romans 5:3-4
Maybe if we replaced the word “trial” with the word “blessing” (like the bible says it’s a blessing) we wouldn’t despise them so much. Jesus says we are blessed when we “mourn…are lied about…and are persecuted.” Matthew 5. But why would the Lord say the worst of circumstances are blessings?? It’s not that the hardship in and of itself is a blessing, but rather that the opportunity we have within the trial to know God more deeply, and to become better people, that is a gift.
There is always a reason the bible gives us after it says these horrible things are “blessings.” We are blessed when we mourn because we will be “comforted” by our heavenly father Matthew 5:4. Why did Jesus say we are blessed when we are, “insulted, persecuted, and lied about”?? He goes on to tell us it’s because great is our “reward in heaven.” Matthew 5:11-12
I have met people who have come from horrible, abusive upbringings and it either makes them, “bitter or better.” But the ones that choose to let it make them better are the people you meet who have this amazing way about them. They have a deeper understanding of hardship, a deep love for people, and integrity that influences the people around them.
My friend Angela is one of those inspirational role models to me. She endured horrible abuse, a husband who tried to kill her, motherhood at the age of 14, and those are just the highlights. But before I knew any of those things about her, I thought she was one of the nicest people I had ever met. Her kindness and love for humanity inspired me.. And then I found out about all of the trials she faced and I was aaaahmazed at her :).
My aunt Tammy is another one of those people who have come from a tragic upbringing full of abuse and difficulties. She is one of the strongest women I know with a heart full of compassion for others.
I want to be one of those people who took their trial and saw it as an opportunity to grow. I want each hurt to bring me closer to The Lord. And I want to learn to walk in His character with each tragedy that strikes me.
I know this is easier said than done. I’m reminded of that on those days that my pain gets so bad I want to throw up. I’m reminded of that when my blurred vision, inability to move, and sickness get so bad I want to give up. But I know if I ask God to give me the grace to get through it, then I can do it. As I watch my life pass by the way I did NOT plan, I realize that it is a growing experience if I choose to let it be…and they are growing me in a way that MY PLAN wouldn’t have.
We prioritize knowledge and education in our culture but we don’t realize that we could attain SO much knowledge, and understanding from the trials we go through in this life… And guess what, it doesn’t cost $60k like college does ;).
My days are hard yes. Your days might be even harder than what I’m facing. But what if when things went wrong we didn’t think of it as a “trial, struggle, or hardship” and instead thought of it as a “blessing, opportunity, educational experience etc”?? Would the world be a different place?? I think so! Would we be happier if we looked at our trials like that? I think so.
We know that it takes a lot of work, pain, and time to get our physical bodies in shape. But do we know that it takes a lot of “work, pain, and time” to get our inner spirit “in shape??” Our trials are just the treadmill for our spirit, and our struggles the bench press ;).
He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Isaiah 40:29