December 2, 2009
Life without Limbs
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV).
Friend To Friend
The camera framed the young man's handsome face as he flashed a beautiful smile to the audience and spoke with a beguiling accent. "My name is Nick Vujicic," he began, "and I'm from Australia. This morning, I want to share my testimony as to how God has given me grace, strength and comfort through my disability and how you can have victory, peace, and joy in your life- even if circumstances are still present in your life that don't make sense or cause your world to turn upside down."
The camera pulled back to reveal a young man with no arms and no legs, sitting before a massive mesmerized audience. Several video clips followed as we watched this young limbless man shaving, getting a glass of water, walking up stairs, and diving head first in a crystal clear swimming pool.
Born with no limbs, Nick has one of the most powerful of all human attributes: a voice. He has made over 1,600 speaking appearances in 12 nations. "No matter who you are, no matter what you're going through, God knows it," he said. "He is with you. He is going to pull you through."
On this particular day, I watched as Nick spoke to Dr. Robert Schuller during a worship service at the Crystal Cathedral in California.
"I'm twenty-four-years-old," Nick began. "And there's actually no medical reason why this happened. My mom was a nurse and she knew exactly what to do and what not to do in her first pregnancy. I'm their first born son. It was such a great tragedy and we had many questions. They had many questions as parents. I had many questions as a child. But there were no answers.
"The world cannot tell us why I was born this way. But I now see the glory of God in it and I give God all glory and thanks and praise because I am wonderfully and fearfully made. He has a plan and a hope and a future for everybody.
"They (Nick's parents) went through many stages of denial and depression. They straight away took me home and raised me like any other child. But God's peace guided their hearts...
"It was just such a shock. There's no trace of birth defects in either families. I have a brother and a sister born after me and they have no birth defects. But it's just amazing to see the miracle of God's grace as they raised me up. As they trusted in God. Such a stressful and anxious time in their lives."
On his left side, Nick has a tiny foot with two toes at the end of a stub. He calls it a "chicken drum stick" because that's what it actually looks like. With that tiny foot and two toes, Nick can type 43 words per minutes on a keyboard. He has a double degree in accounting and financial planning, can walk, swim, and bring a crowd to their knees with his amazing words of God's grace.
"My purpose in life is to go out in the world and say, ‘If I can trust in God with my circumstances, then you can trust in God with your circumstances," Nick explained." We know that God's grace is sufficient and if He doesn't answer your prayers just know that He is with you and that's the message - ‘fear not, for I am with you.'
"You know what? A lot of people say, ‘Nick, I can never imagine what you've gone through' or ‘you're the most inspirational story,' or something like that. I take that to heart. I praise God for the inspiration that I am to the world. But that's not to say that there's not someone else out there who is going through pain. See we all are denying ourselves and taking up our cross. We all know how it feels to be lonely or broken and the thing is this…I could look at you and say, ‘maybe the things you have gone through are worse than what I've gone through. But you say, ‘no, I could never imagine myself without arms or legs.' See, we can't and we should not compare sufferings.
"I'm just an empty vessel. That's all I am. It's not about me. It's not about my achievements. It's not about what I can do or what I cannot do. It's about what I have become by the power of Jesus Christ. That's the message."
Nick wasn't always so positive. When he was eight-years-old, he wanted to kill himself by flipping himself off the kitchen table to break his neck. His father was a pastor and he grew up going to church and Sunday school. He learned the verses in Psalm 139 that said he was fearfully and wonderfully made. He read Jeremiah 29:11 about how God had a future and a hope for his life. What kind of future will I have, he thought.
He thought he would never get married, hold his wife's hand, dance on his wedding day, or be able to put his arms around his children when they cried. "These things were important to me," he said. "No one could tell me that everything was going to be OK. And even if they did, I couldn't believe them."
Not yet in his teens, Nick prayed that God would give him arms and legs. "It said in the Bible, ‘Ask and you shall receive,' Nick explained. "I had faith, and I was actually very angry at God. I didn't understand it. And I thought maybe I wasn't good enough. Maybe that's the reason why He's not answering my prayer. I mean, arms and legs are nothing for God the Creator of the Universe. And so, I prayed for my circumstance to change, but it didn't happen."
"There are two things we want to hear in life as human beings. First of all, that we're loved. Second of all, everything is going to be OK. And the greatest thing that God has given me is His love. To know that He does love me. And when there are things that happen in my life that I don't understand, when there are things that happen in your life and you don't understand the purpose, the question is this: Is God worthy of your thanks? Is God still worthy of your praise? …This life is temporary, but you know what, I love the fact that that is the greatest joy of all, having Jesus Christ in my life and living godly purposes He has for me. And I can be thankful."
Here's what I want you to hear…I'm standing in my chair with a megaphone…hear this. Nick went on to say, "We stereotype people in this world. And so...if the world thinks you're not good enough, it's a lie, you know. Get a second opinion."
Get a second opinion. Get God's opinion. He thinks Nick is amazing. He thinks you are amazing. Nick, with no arms and legs, felt that he wasn't good enough for God to answer his prayers for physical wholeness. He felt worthless. But oh, God had a greater plan. He is using Nick to bring spiritual wholeness to millions around the world. That is amazing. Nick is good enough. Nick is incredibly valuable to God.
Dear Heavenly Father, there is much about this life that I don't understand. But this I do know. Your ways are loving ways. Your ways are kind. So when I can't understand, when I can't trace Your hand, I will choose to trust Your heart. Help me not to see the difficulties of my life as stumbling blocks, but as stepping stones. And today, Lord, I thank You for Nick.
In Jesus' Name,
Now It's Your Turn
Nick tells us not to compare difficulties and pain, but at the same time, his life does help us get our difficulties in perspective. How did you feel when you read about his attitude about his physical limitations?
I'm still just reflecting on Nick's story. Maybe you need to just reflect on it as well. I'm not going to ask you a lot of questions today. But I would like to hear your thoughts. You can send your thoughts to www.facebook.com/sharonjaynes or to www.sharonjaynes.com/blog.
Here's a bonus. You can actually see Nick and hear him on the following link. Click and be encouraged and challenged.
More From The Girlfriends
Nick's story is included in Sharon's book, I'm Not Good Enough…and Other Lies Women Tell Themselves. To order, visit www.sharonjaynes.com.
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Click here to learn more about hosting a Girlfriends in God conference in your area or having one of the GiGs speak at your next women's event.
Originally published Wednesday, 02 December 2009.