Handicapped? Serve the Lord Anyway!
All of us are heir to the common troubles and heartaches of life. Headaches, petty vexations, grievances – everyone has these. Some of us, however, wear visible scars. One of these is our Ethiopian son, Bereket (for his amazing story, go here).
Bereket’s eye problems are genuine. They have the potential of being debilitating. But when the Almighty calls us to a task, we waste our time (and His) bemoaning our weaknesses. We are servants of One who is the eternal Provider. But we must be willing to pray, “God, glorify Yourself through me.” If we mean it when we ask Him, He is eager to do it. Not only are we saved by grace from the sins of yesterday, but provision has been made for us to live for Him today.
One sure mark of genuine revival is the grace of serving. Life does not consist in the presence or absence of things. It is measured by what we give away. Bereket may have faulty eyesight but his spiritual vision is 20/20. Being a servant is certainly one of Bereket’s greatest gifts. He asked to go with us to Alaba, and while there we witnessed the thirteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians in action. God was granting us little glimpses of a servant’s heart. Carrying luggage, running errands, talking to strangers about Christ – nothing was too big or small for Bereket. A soft, lamb-like spirit accompanied his every move. His infectious smile brought joy to every person he met.
I clearly remember the time in Alaba when Bereket came up to me, his face beaming, and asked if he could wash my clothes that day. How could I say no? I scraped together a few items, and off he went to find some water. I could easily multiply such examples of Christ-like meekness.
We read in Hebrews of those “who out of their weakness were made strong” (Heb. 11:34). Salvation means wholeness, soundness, health, vitality. If a partly blind boy can be strong in the Lord and the power of His might, how much more should we who can see perfectly? If a 16-year old can witness in his hospital ward and lead others to Christ, why can’t we? If a handicapped youth can volunteer to answer a seeker’s questions about the Bible, why shouldn’t we? Would that all Christians knew such devotion to their Lord! (I write about this with repentance because I fail so often to practice what I preach.)
Here is the lesson I have learned from watching Bereket on our trip: Christ can use us despite our handicaps. I saw this truth daily fleshed out in the life of a precious young believer. I hope that using his life as an example in this essay will show him my deep gratitude to God for the gift he is to me and for all God’s gifts of grace to me through him. May our glorious Lord alone get all the praise and honor.
July 11, 2007
David Alan Black is the editor of www.daveblackonline.com.