The Gift of a Disability

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Cor. 12:9, NIV.

The apostle Paul was a choleric, type A committed doer. He met every assignment with great enthusiasm, total conviction, and utter determination. Paul was an influential teacher, dynamic evangelist, and dedicated missionary. But he had a disability. Some feel that he never fully recovered from the blindness that struck him on the way to Damascus. Others think that maybe he suffered from malaria. Here’s what Paul says:

“I will say this: because these experiences I had were so tremendous, God was afraid I might be puffed up by them; so I was given a physical condition which has been a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to hurt and bother me, and prick my pride. Three different times I begged God to make me well again. Each time he said, ‘No, But I am with you; that is all you need. My power shows up best in weak people.’ Now I am glad to boast about how weak I am; I am glad to be a living demonstration of Christ’s power, instead of showing off my own power and abilities. Since I know it is all for Christ’s good, I am quite happy about ‘the thorn,’ and about insults and hardships, persecutions and difficulties; for when I am weak, then I am strong-the less I have, the more I depend on him” (2 Cor. 12:7-10, TLB).

None of us would choose to have the gift of a disability. But many have no choice. For example, consider Mike Boyd, who fell when his scaffolding collapsed and is now a quadriplegic. Yet his testimony remains strong. “If I can be a better witness for God from my wheelchair, then I would not want anything else.”

As long as we live in this world of sin, we are targets for accidents, chronic pain, and debilitating disease. Hopefully, we can learn to say as Paul did: “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation. . . . I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Phil. 4:12, 13, NIV).

In what way are you “disabled”? How are you allowing God to use your “disability”?

Used by permission of Health Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.