I was born with a known problem in the way blood flowed to my left foot. Basically, I had too much blood in my foot (fancy medical term… arterial venous fistula) and by the time I was three months old, the doctors had told my parents that I would have to have it amputated, which happened when I was four. I don’t spend a lot of time talking to my parents about it, but there have been moments. One aspect that has stuck with me is that my mother has told me that there were people in her life who told her that my birth defect was a result of some sin she must have committed.
At the time of the conversation, I remember thinking that was a bunch of baloney, and I haven’t spent time thinking about it. Until the other day when I read this passage in the book of John.
John 9: 1-3: As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
As I read it, I found myself connected to the words in a new way. I’m not of the mindset that people are sinning, doing wrong, constantly. I don’t believe my mother, or anyone, committed a sin and that God thought, “yeah, I’ll show them for that one.” I just don’t. I believe people want to do their best. Are we a hot mess on any given day, yes. Do we struggle with issues defined as sin, yes. But I simply believe the vast majority of people wake up each day, and strive to do good, not sin. So I connected to the shift. Did you catch it?
Instead of focusing on a sin, Jesus looked at the man and healed his blindness. He focused on the glory in the healing.
Here’s how the rabbit trail connected to me as I read those words. I was born with a condition which put me in a unique position to God’s unique works in me. Because, after my foot was amputation, it was essentially back to business as usual. Meaning, I grew up doing normal kid things. I learned how to ride a bike, ski, hike, ride a horse, dance (albeit poorly) … with my prosthetic leg. But as I got older, particularly when I was cycling avidly, I noticed that people would make comments to me. Encouragement. When I was racing triathlons, people would tell me I encouraged them being out there. It seemed so weird to me. Truly. I was just doing my thing. But I thought about it. And I began to see that maybe God was working through me, encouraging other people to try, because that’s what I was doing, trying.
Because I was simply born this way. It wasn’t the result of anything but the way I was formed in my mother’s womb. The same way my own children were formed in my womb. They were each born uniquely. Born the way they are, the way God made them, perfectly. And I believe there is glory being worked in and through each one of them.
Just as there is glory being worked through you. If we put limits on it, thinking there is some sin, or some barrier to the glory, we’re not living our full life. Lean in to the glory working in you, through you. Every single one of you, and know it’s all part of the plan.