Who wants to encounter disquieting and irritating disabilities that gnaw on your sense or taste for enjoyment of this life? The more gnawing the pain the more disquieting the disability or hardship. I don’t have severe disabilities by any stretch, but my learning disability with reading has been a big challenge for years. I flip words around when reading, so I do best to either read very slowly or have someone else read to me. My memory is also in need of constant exercise to work even somewhat properly. These are basically not disabilities and if anything have been tools God has given me and have ultimately become blessings. I have to more frequently humble myself with those around me and engage with them not impressing them with my memory of their name for instance. I usually have to ask three times for someone’s name before I get it right when I cross paths with them.
I have close friends and acquaintances who are far better testimonies of the title for this blog post. Have you met such people? Some actually testify that they truly believe they are happier with their disability or weakness than if they didn’t have the same. They feel that it is a part of what has made them daily aware of their need for God and is a daily reminder of the eternality of God and His goodness. Though these momentary afflictions burden and overwhelm us, praise God that we will one day stand before and worship the One Savior Who took the cross for us and bore the pain of God’s judgment of our sin upon His own body! Jesus is incredible to have taken on the disability of human flesh and it’s temptations to sin and wear that skin for over 30 years on this earth, and then endure the cross for us!
Today I found myself in a prayer triangle with two disabled friends. We were praying for healing but we were more so praying for a deeper knowledge of Jesus and praying we would make Him known through how we handle our weaknesses and sorrows. We experienced so much joy as we prayed together and were encouraged by the truth each was bringing up about God. It’s not often that I get to pray with people here in my office, but after today, I want to increase the frequency of these moments so long as those in the community don’t turn me down. As we sense where we are in relationship with people, we will find that we can offer to pray for people we encounter and rareful be turned down. People are hopeful and are more than happy to have prayer when they are going through something, especially if we’re being discerning about when and how we’re asking to pray for them. If we’re just wanting to appear spiritual, it can often be a messy and fruitless request, but if we’re genuinely wanting the spirit of the person we’re talking to to know Jesus Christ and be satisfied by eternal relationship and present awareness of God’s goodness and nearness, we can’t go wrong to ask.
After my friends and I prayed, one of my friends immediately got on the phone with someone he felt he’d felt pretty heated about earlier in the conversation. He repented in a longish voicemail and said he didn’t want to seek a lawsuit any longer. My slowness to understand what I read is probably my biggest disability along with my challenged memory not just for names but for facts and details. I have labored all my life to have a better memory and to read better. One thing that has helped more than anything is the use of my smart phone to have everything read to me on my Kindle books application using the accessibility feature there. I’ve gotten through dozens of books in the last couple of years, and it’s deepend my knowledge of history, theology, and more. Above all though, I am like most of us in that I remember stories better than facts and names.
Those we encounter all have stories that include weakeness and sin and sorrow. When we can encounter those we meet wanting to know their story, we’ll be able to listen to understand, and what we’ll remember is a new friend’s story. One’s life story is comprised of various short stories. What do we read faster and more easilly than a novel? So, let’s look at each other as a series of short stories that tell the slightly longer story of a true novel (unique) of each of our lives. Then, let’s look at all of our life stories fitting into God’s redemptive story of creating humanity and sending His Son to redeem us!
As we encounter each other with the desire to know each other, we’ll find very unique stories, and we’ll learn how to really be encouragements to each other. The more we can point each other to realizing that we have a Redeemer Whose work is eternal and good and lasting and inclusive of us, the more we will be draw to each other and ultimately to our Savior!
Soli Deo Gloria – To God ALONE Be the Glory!