Handicapped? We had never thought of ourselves that way. No one else, even people who have known us for years, has ever described us that way. Now Keith, who has reached the point of “profound deafness” may well be called handicapped, but he has never used that word of himself. He just keeps on doing what needs to be done because it has to be done. About the only thing I have taken over for him is the telephone.
He has never used his handicap as an excuse. Nothing disgusts him more than many of the felons he must deal with who blame society, their parents, their neighborhoods, their economic class and anything else they can for their lack of education and ambition, and their crimes. He was raised in back hill poverty, without running water, with only a kitchen woodstove for heat in a climate where the water bucket in that same kitchen often developed a top layer of ice overnight. He began going deaf in his early 20s and already had one hearing aid at 27. He finished a college degree while supporting a wife and two children. He continued to work into his upper 60s, despite his ever increasing disability, and then began several hours a week of volunteer work. He uses none of his “handicaps” as an excuse. They are simply obstacles to be overcome.
Too often we want to claim handicaps in our work for God. I don’t have time. I don’t have the money. I don’t have the talent. I am too young and inexperienced. I am too old. I am not popular. I am too shy. The same God who promised he would not tempt you more than you are able to bear, will not give you an opportunity you don’t have the ability to handle.
He doesn’t lay out the opportunities like a multiple choice test, then let us choose the one we want. “None of the above” is not on the list either. He is the one who decides our handicaps and his decision is obvious in the things he places before us to do. He expects us to choose “all of the above.”
Handicaps will make you stronger, but not if you use them as excuses. You must work your way through them. Then God will decide whether you did as much as you were able to do. He is the one who really knows.
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Cor 12:9,10.