One of the drawbacks of being born without arms means that there is never a moment that I am alone when I’m in public. People have a tendency to stare at me while they try to figure out where my arms went. Strangers in restaurants will sit in amazement as they watch me eat a double bacon cheeseburger with my foot. Kids will spot me in the grocery and loudly ask their parents, “Where’re that man’s arms?”
Through all the pain, I’ve come to believe this: Being born without arms is a gift from God. In those moments when people go from curious onlookers to asking questions about my disability, I realize that my pain has given me a platform. With that platform in full view, what am I saying to the world in the midst of my pain? Am I using that platform to tell people how awesome I am, or how amazing and strong God is?
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. (2 Corinthians 1:3-6)
It is in the comfort that Christ brings us that we are now given to share with a hurting world. It is in our pain that produces a ministry of comfort that we can walk in. His grace to us is meant to be displayed, not hidden by our silence. As our pain shouts to a hurting world, may our lives always sing of the fact that God is glorious even when our circumstances are not.