Liam and I enjoyed flipping through his copy of The Beginner’s Bible a couple of days ago. He enjoys pointing to different people and saying “uh-oh” when he looks through the pages.
One page in particular caught his attention and had him saying “uh-oh!” several times that afternoon. It was a cartoon depiction of Isaac in his old age, his eyes closed to show that he was blind.
Looking at the cartoon-version of Isaac as a blind man made me think of another person I had learned about months earlier through an episode of a Christian children’s program called The Mr. Phil Show. In it, a cartoon elephant and turtle traveled back into time to meet a woman by the name of Fanny Crosby.
While visiting her, they learned that she had become blind at six weeks old when the medicine she was given to cure her eye infection ultimately robbed her of her eyesight.
Despite her limitations, she excelled in music and poetry and was also blessed with a good memory. As a result, she wrote around 9,000 hymns throughout her life, many of which are still known today and sung in traditional church settings.1
As I think of Fanny Crosby’s life, I can’t help but wonder if her blindness was partly to thank for all of her accomplishments. There is no doubt that she would have had many more opportunities in life had she not been blind, but would those opportunities ultimately have served as a distraction from God’s purposes for her?
Fanny Crosby herself seemed to think that this would have been the case and thanked God for her blindness as a result.2
The more I think about Crosby’s story, the more I am amazed by what God did through her. He used a blind woman to give the church a better vision of who He is.
All I can say about it is this; that’s the beauty of how God works.
Thinking of Fanny Crosby’s story led me to think of another story from modern times of a man that has accomplished much for Christ due to his disabilities.
His name is Nick Vujicic, and he was born in Australia in 1982 without arms or legs.
Although he experienced a hard childhood because of his disabilities, he began to understand the value and purpose that God gave him as he grew in a relationship with Jesus. As a result, he began to share his testimony in public speaking engagements and went on to write books about his life.
Today, he is the CEO of Life without Limbs and founder of a company by the name of Attitude is Altitude. He continues his public speaking engagements and has shared his testimony and the Gospel in over 57 countries and with over 6 million people.3
Although many would only see the limitations in front of them with a life like his (me included), God has given him the ability to see the advantages that his disabilities have given him. In his website, lifewithoutlimbs.org, he writes the following:
“It’s been said that doors open to a man without arms and legs much more easily than to anyone else, we thank God for providing that privilege. I’ve been invited into very unexpected places to share about my faith in Jesus Christ and literally millions have responded.”Nick Vujicic
I am utterly amazed by Vujicic’s spirit and determination and by all that God has been able to accomplish through his life precisely due to the fact that he does not have arms or legs.
It’s incredible to think that God is building the body of Christ through a man who is lacking part of his body. It’s almost too much to take in. Ultimately, all I can say about it is this; that’s the beauty of how God works.
Thinking about Crosby’s and Vujicic’s lives makes me want to reconsider how I see my own faults and areas where I find myself lacking.
Although I do not have any disabilities, I find myself in a season of life where it seems very difficult to do much for Jesus. Having a little child in the house with some minor health concerns just makes life that way (although I’m sure just having a little child would have done that as well).
Nonetheless, perhaps the areas where I find myself lacking are the exact areas in which God is preparing me for what He has for me ahead and for greater ministry opportunities down the road.
Although God has gifted us all with abilities and gifts and talents that He wants us to use for His glory, perhaps it would do us some good to think about our faults, disabilities, and weaknesses as well and to offer them up to God.
After all, if God was able to form heaven and earth out of nothing, what could He do, then, out of all that we offer to Him, even all that we lack?
I know this much; He is “able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20, ESV). And ultimately all I can say about it is this; that’s the beauty of how God works.
1 The Mr. Phil Show