It wasn’t my fault. I was born that way. Call it whatever you want – lame, crippled, disabled, handicapped – my entire life has been affected and defined by all of the things I could not do.
I was real young when I realized that I would never be able to jump off the porch like the other kids, play catch with my dad, ride a bicycle, throw and skip rocks off the water in the local pond, or be dared to walk along the top of a narrow wall. I could never chase the ice cream truck for an orange popsicle. Never. Ever. I was stuck inside watching the other kids play.
At some point I figured the paralysis in my legs infected my mind and I began to feel sorry for myself. I began to believe the taunts and wisecracks of some of the neighbor kids. The daily grind seemed to involve going with the status quo because there was no other way out of the darkness. Even my parents and siblings seemed resigned to the apparent reality – I was in need of regular care, and in some people’s minds – I was a broken person and was even disposable.
They would carry me to school but the teacher wasn’t ready for someone of my status. My parents were asked to not make the other students get behind, and therefore I was asked to leave. I started to work at an earlier age than normal, where my family would carry and leave me in a high traffic area and come later and carry me home. They asked how many coins were dropped in my cup at the corner. I was told to speak to those passing by because silent beggars are ignored. I was reminded over and over, “You have to be aggressive…get in their face.” But it is hard to do when you cannot stand on your own two feet. Make them look at you and realize how much better they have it. The guiltier they feel, the more they might give. But they never asked me how it felt to have a career of begging and being pathetic in the eyes of so many.
Read Acts 3:1-16.
It seemed like any other day when I asked two men passing by for money. They stopped and looked at me. Man to man, eye to eye. They stared at me and the taller man said words that started a sequence of events that I will never forget, “Hey pal, I don’t have any money.” “Yeah, right,” I thought to myself, “another working man who looks down on me as a lower class bum.” Then he said something else about Jesus Christ, grabbed my hand and pulled me up. For the first time in my life I COULD WALK ON MY OWN.
I started walking, then jumping, dancing, and running…and praising the name of the God I just heard about. The people who had been dropping coins in my jar for as long as I remember could not believe what they saw me doing on the sidewalk and in the street. Neither could I.
I tell you that we are all born with something we did not ask for. My spirit was as dead as my legs, but no longer. Both had been re-generated as Jesus Christ set me free – body and soul. I often find myself jumping in the air and swatting at a leaf on a low-lying branch for no reason. But every time I do, I praise the God of heaven and earth. Wouldn’t you?
Walk wisely. What aspect of your life have you often excused by saying, “I can’t help it, I was born that way.” What are you willing to let God do in your life to make you whole? Do you believe that God can help you overcome any physical, mental, relational, or spiritual barrier? Jesus stands ready to forgive and heal your “paralysis” and watch you jump for joy.
Love is a verb,
©2013 by Mike Olejarz