Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 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... for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus... who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables Him even to subject all things to Himself.
2 Corinthians 12:8-10, Galatians 6:16, Philippians 3:21
Every day of my life, I am reminded of my physical frailty as my disabilities impact my daily routine. I cannot walk the length of a table without crutches; I must be careful when walking on slick surfaces lest my crutches slip out from under me and I fall; I must take daily heart medication that keeps my arrhythmia in check. These have been realities throughout my life, and will likely continue to be so until the day that Christ returns or calls me home to heaven. When I was young, it always bothered me when I was at restaurant, or a Ranger game, or the grocery store, and noticed kids staring at me. They might ask a parent, "Daddy, why does he have those?" or "Mommy, what is wrong with him?" Sometimes overhearing a parent's answer could bother me even more than the question the child had asked. The questions and stares only served to painfully remind me just how different I am from most people, which nurtured my insecurity and desire for self-dependence. But ultimately my insecurity grew out of a heart not resting in my identity as a redeemed, beloved son of God; a disciple of Jesus Christ rather than as someone with disabilities.
In 2 Corinthians 5:16-20, the apostle Paul writes, "From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the ministry of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God."
From the day that Paul encountered Jesus on the Damascus road, he lived his life for the Gospel to which the Lord had called him. The Lord gave Paul eyes to see all the circumstances of his life through the lenses of who Christ is and who Christ declared Paul to be in Him. Paul found his identity in his Savior, and could exclaim, "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." (Galatians 2:20) This is why Paul could write that he was content with his weakness—because the power of Christ was magnified in it.
Over the years I have come to treasure my disabilities because of the ways in which Christ teaches me the truths of the Gospel through them! The 6" scar down the center of my chest where I have undergone three open-heart surgeries reminds me that just as without those surgeries I would not be alive today, so also it is only through Christ having raised my wicked heart from the dead that I am alive spiritually. Just as it is impossible for me to ambulate without crutches, so also I am daily dependent on my Savior to sustain my weak faith and guide my heart that is prone to wander. The Lord has given me eyes to see my crooked legs, surgical scarlines, and crutches as the marks of Christ on my body that provide me avenues through which I can share with others all that He has done for me! The Lord has brought me to the point where I no longer cringe when I overhear or am asked questions pertaining to my disabilities. He has shown me that such moments are opportunities to speak of how I have seen Jesus rescue not only my body but also my very soul from a life of sin and death. Thus, for me to tell my story is truly to tell of His story! He has called me to be an ambassador for Him. Through my disabilities has given me opportunities to share how I am not defined by my physical limitations, but by the greatness of my Savior—a Savior who has rescued me and has promised to return and make all things new, including my infirm body.
A friend recently asked me if I ever pray for healing. I answered no, not because I doubt the Lord's healing power, or because I would somehow not be overjoyed were He to heal me in this lifetime, but because I find great anticipation for Christ's return through the ongoing presence of my disabilities. My physical limitations make it impossible for me to bend my knees beyond a 25° angle, and so I have never knelt in my life. I have never knelt in prayer or a ceremony, and—should the Lord bless me with a future wife—will have to sit down in order to propose. The Gospel tells me that there is a day coming when I will experience what it is like to kneel. I know the very first time I experience kneeling will be at the feet of Jesus Christ, who has delivered me from my sin and whose grace is sufficient for me. His power is made perfect in my weakness. Oh, for that day to come! Soli Deo gloria!