How God Uses Flaws to Help Us Flourish
Last week a normal flight became an abnormal window into grace.
The flight was going well and the flight crew had given their instructions before takeoff, followed by more instructions after they reached cruising altitude. But one man was struggling. It became obvious to other passengers that he was confused. Then, someone realized that he was both deaf and blind. A teenage girl left her seat, knelt by the passenger, and took his hand in hers. She then began to use sign language against his open hand. The man relaxed and began to understand what the instructions were. The plane grew quiet as the speechless passengers watched her bring dignity and clarity to this passenger. Those watching said, “It was beautiful.”
What they didn’t know is another detail that makes it an even more beautiful picture. She discovered many years ago that she had dyslexia, and she learned sign language as a way to cope. Signing actually helped her learn in the context of a reading disorder that she had resented at a younger time. Some people might look on her dyslexia as a flaw, something to resent. But our world is seasoned with many very gifted people who have dyslexia, and this young girl’s heart was big enough to see the problem and leave the comfort of distance to enter the world of a man whose physical struggles included lost sight and hearing.
Sometimes the flaws we curse are the tools that God uses to help us to flourish!
In high school, I blew out a knee during a year when we would go deeply into the playoffs. I was so blue that a speech coach grabbed me and invited me to try extemporaneous speaking. I found a new niche of gifting and competition where I excelled. 7 years later, I walked through a bout of depression that affected my speech, creating blocks and stammers. It crucified my confidence and arrogance. I literally wondered if I would ever have a future. Today, I look at those events and I am thankful.
Preaching became a gift to me. I can hear the “stammers” every week in the moment, but when I go back to watch video, they are absent. If I hadn’t blown a knee, I would never have discovered this craft. If I hadn’t walked through those difficult days, I would have chased my ambition without wisdom, and I would have missed out on the miracle that I get to experience every week.
Paul discovered that experience and talked about it in 2 Corinthians: “I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. . . When I am weak, then I am strong.”
What flaws can God use in YOUR life to help you flourish?