EMPOWERED OR DISABLED?
Struggling with health issues for years, it was easy for me to accept what I could do and could not. I put myself in a category that cast me as disabled and leaned on my restrictions. I could not do this because… could not do that because… couldn’t serve God in my church or community, etc. Yet, I could be empowered by God’s plan for me.
I know that God had given me other gifts that didn’t require the use of my legs, or cause stress on my back or that was interrupted by cancer, diabetes and related illnesses. He gave me the ability to write and direct others in writing. I used it, wanting to glorify his name and further His Word. I hoped what I wrote would encourage others to seek or remember God. All the same, I wanted God to change my physical endurance.
Recently, it dawned on me like a brilliant sunrise; that God was waiting for ME to change my actions and my attitude. Instead I had always assumed He was in charge, planning my path behind my back and behind the scenes. Never considering anything to be an ‘accident’, I often commented on rejections or failures as God’s will or His timing. However, a writing friend reminded me that I was ‘blaming God’ just as if I blamed Him using those words.
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I realized that though there was little I could do to change my physical problems, I could take steps to change my lifestyle. I could eat more healthfully, get good rest, exercise as much as allowed, and take the recommended precautions. These things wouldn’t correct the damage done, but could make me feel better over all. I also could allow God to change my attitude. More than these, I could pray faithfully and listen to hear what God would give me. It also seemed I needed to look at my relationship as a package deal; one that combined my spiritual health, with the physical and mental. To neglect one was to be incomplete.
God does allow some of us to have health disabilities and other issues such as family or financial crisis that seem to be at cross purposes to completing His plan. We might ask: “how can I be an efficient witness if physical problems prevent me singing, visiting, preaching, or teaching?” But the lesson of God’s gifts and the separate parts making the whole put that in perspective
[I Corinthians 12:4,5 “Now there are a diversity of gifts, but the same spirit. There are differences of administration, but the same Lord”]
A powerful testimony to that is told of a woman in England who suffered from a painful and devastating disease. She worked in Africa’s mission field. She continued to serve God in whatever ways she could. Soon, the disease took both arms and both legs and they had to be amputated. Left with only stumps, she had someone fashion for her an attachment that allowed her to continue using a pen. With this, she wrote letters to many individuals all over the world, including leaders; and she prayed. Her little cottage became known as a house of prayer. Some were saved because of her faithfulness and selflessness. She refused to focus on her obvious disability.
Others stories are known and re-told of songwriters who are blind or deaf, or of brilliant speakers who are disabled by speech afflicting diseases. It is well known that the disciple Paul suffered, although we aren’t sure what his afflictions were. Yet- he became an important bearer of God’s word. In spite of, or because of a painful disease, Francis Ridley Havergal wrote the words and music that brought light to dark prisoners of sin. “Take My Life and Let it Be” is one example.
THE BEST PACKAGE
If my focus is on what I can’t do, then it takes away from my spiritual health, it takes away from my mental stability. To make the best package possible to give to God, I have to focus on what I CAN do. BECAUSE I am not able to accomplish those other things that require much leg work and an energy level I don’t posses, I can stay at home and write. If I worked a 9-5 job, there would be no time for writing, volunteering, making phone calls, or creating gifts. I have time that others strive mightily for- to write notes of encouragement. If am able to help other writers see their potential, and seek God’s will it is because I am home. God uses me to encourage my parents, siblings and children who are all suffering during difficult times.
Because I can correspond with the written word, and have time to listen- I can focus on others and their needs, and pray. EMPOWERED by God, I can serve Him with what He’s given me to work with.
A life-line verse for me ends with: “… for when I am weak, I am strong” II Corinthians 12:10 (7-10)
April Boyer (c) 2017