At a campground church service out West, we were treated to music led by a family that played lots of musical instruments. They sounded like they could be from Tennessee, using fiddles, dobro, acoustic guitar and accordion. The message was about being thankful for your “handicaps” and making the best of it. They focused, as musicians on the hymn-song writer, Fannie Crosby (1820-1915), who wrote over 8,000 hymns, who had become blind when just little baby through a series of events beginning with an eye infection.
There’s a story about a minister who in conversation with Ms. Crosby, shared he sympathized with her condition. Her response must have surprised him: "Do you know that if at birth I had been able to make one petition, it would have been that I should be born blind?" When the minister asked why, her response: "Because when I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior!"1
So what is a handicap, really? Is it just a physical symptom, or can it be something we create, that works in the pit, where we find ourselves? Can it be an abuse situation where one partner continually puts the other one down? Can it be pride so intense and destructive, it gets in the way of doing what is good and right and trusting God for the situations in our lives?
Restricted eyesight for the human is a handicap most would choose not to have, yet Fannie Crosby considered it a blessing. Frogs also have a unique perception to vision. The frog’s optical ability allows for only images that directly affect him, (like a natural enemy) or for food necessary for survival. Their “optical power” eliminates distractions of any other kind.2
We get so distracted by the material things of this world, our drive for success, our particular circumstance and what we consider “handicaps,” we often lose sight of what is important. We become like the frog, with restricted eyesight, and unable to see past what is right in front of us.
Fannie Crosby rose above her “handicap” and served in an incredible capacity. It is entirely possible you are in a situation where you believe your “gift” cannot be used because it is unimportant, or you haven’t had the education to do it well. Or perhaps you simply feel unworthy of using the gift God’s given you.
We all have excuses! Our world has nurtured a society who finds it easy to blame someone else for our failures. There are troubled childhoods, financial difficulties, relationship problems, substance abuse, living in the wrong geographical area or a hundred others! The truth of the matter is no one has a perfect life! There is no perfect body, home, mind, relationship, childhood, or work environment! We live in a world of challenges. It’s how you choose to respond to the challenges that is important!
I challenge you to reconsider, without excuses! Fannie Crosby was able to use her handicap to see past what most people can see and become an amazing song writer! She saw with her heart a God who was real and personal. Can you also see with your heart? What great gift has God given you? Look past your handicaps and see!