I cannot imagine being blind or not having my hands. Several months ago…Thomas and I were having lunch at Firehouse Subs right around the corner from our home. As we waited our turn, we spent the time just catching up. In the midst of a busy restaurant we both noticed a young man, probably in his 30’s, who was managing to order with no hands!!
We watched him order, pull his wallet out of his back pocket, pull out cash and pay….receive the change….pick up his cup and fill it with ice and soda….walk to his table pull the chair out and sit down…all without the use of HANDS! I tried not to look obvious but I was utterly amazed at how he maneuvered and navigated his daily life with no hands. I was so fascinated….and moved with emotion. I began to pray for him and God spoke to me.
Thomas knew from looking at my face, before I said a thing, what was on my mind. Thomas has not been my son for 23 years without knowing me pretty well. He knew I was going to get up and say hello…..and ask him…..about himself. I wanted to tell him how I marveled at his ability and, mostly, how grateful I was just from watching him. It made me so thankful for my hands, something I take for granted.
I got up and walked over and said hello. I introduced myself and simply told him how amazed I was. I was even so bold as to ask if we could join him for lunch…he smiled and said sure. As the lunch progressed….not only did he share about being born with no hands….we all three had something in common–we all graduated from Clemson.
He shared some of his experiences in life and the process of learning to live normally without hands. He is married and has children. He talked about his childhood and the provisions given through many people and programs. It was a blessing to hear how God had used his circumstances to enable him to speak to individuals and groups…to encourage people to persevere in the face of difficult and unchanging circumstances. Our casual but very intriguing lunch was such an encouragement to me.
I immediately thought of Paul in Scripture…where he talks about a “thorn” in his flesh. There is speculation about the thorn Paul had, but no one knows for sure. It even tells us in 2 Corinthians 12:8, “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'”
I left the restaurant that day spending much thought on the young man with no hands….how much of a thorn in the flesh he has lived with from birth …and how much I saw God’s provision in his life. I did see God…that day through that man…God’s power, God’s provision. I also got to hear of this man’s faith and how it had grown in the wake of the thorn. It made me more grateful for all the things I take for granted–my hands, my eyes–the list is really endless….but most of all….it made me turn to God and ask Him to help me use “my thorn” to bring glory to His name.
Often times we have thorns in our life. It may be just one or it may be many. They can be very visible….or unseen….but thorns are used by God so that we can experience His power in our weakness. So that we can “lean into HIM,” and have Ephesians 3:20 manifested in our lives. “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”
IF we allow God to take our thorns and use them so that “others” can see God’s power in our lives, it can encourage and lead others to Christ. Paul led many to Christ. I am still encouraged and comforted by his words today…”Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, and in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak…, then I am strong.”
Today, allow Christ’s power to overwhelm you….to cover you in your “thorn”. HIS POWER will be perfect and others will know Christ because of your “thorn!” Allow your thorn to bring Glory to the Most High today!