Four young girls, all between the ages of 13 and 15 got up on stage in front of a church congregation the size of which would have been somewhat intimidating even to a seasoned performer.I wasn't particularly engaged until they began to sing their little solos, at which point i began my usual musicians' critique. The first two girls were fair, nothing special, but i gave them credit for being calm in front of such a large crowd and for singing clearly and on key.I stopped short however as i began to study the 3rd girl from the right. She was sitting down, slumped over in her chair with one arm crossed in front of her, while the hand that held the microphone waved erratically in front of her face. As she began to sing, she swayed slightly somewhat like one who had had too much to drink. Her voice seemed to be lost somewhere inside her mouth, and her words were barely audible let alone intelligible, and yet she was clearly smiling as her two lines dragged out twice as long as they should have. I didn't have to observe long or hard to realize that this brave little girl had cerebral palsy.Tears filled my eyes as the lyrics to the song appeared on the screen ;
Over time you've healed so much of me
And I am living proof
That although my darkest hour would come
Your light could still shine through
And though at times its just enough
To cast a shadow on the wall
I am grateful that you shine your light on me at all.
Who am I that you would love me so gently?
Who am I that you would recognize my name?
Lord, who am I that you would speak to me so softly
A conversation with the love most high.
Who am I?
They continued to sing, the young girl valiantly struggling in a losing battle between the microphone and her unrelenting muscles, fumbling openly for her words, and yet - smiling the whole way. As the song ended, the music minister with an unmistakable choke in his voice, read the famous verse from Psalm 139;
"I will praise You for i am fearfully and wonderfully made;
marvelous are Your works and that my soul knows very well. (vs.14)
I held back the tears as a new light suddenly illuminated a concept that i had thought i knew inside and out. It is one thing to read this verse as a capable, energetic, well formed (by the world's standards) human beings with no physical or mental hindrances or disabilities to impede us from doing or pursuing everything our hearts desire; but this child, who was barely able to make it back to her seat unassisted must read the self same passage and trust that it still rings just as true for her as it did for her pretty, "normal" young friends that had to help her to her feet.My own guilt convicted me as i thought back to the many times i have stood in front of a mirror and despised every "flaw" that was reflected back to my critical eyes; every time i have wallowed in discontent over my lack of skill or talent in a certain area, too caught up in wanting what i do not have - things that in the eyes of eternity are beyond irrelevant, to be grateful for the blessings that i have and do not deserve...... With one simple act, this little girl unknowingly displayed a confidence, bravery and trust indicative of a strength of character that i do not possess, and opened my eyes to an entirely new perspective on who i am in Christ and how in my shallow foolishness i take so much for granted....
Can a clay pot curse the wisdom of the hands that so gently and carefully molded and formed it's very shape into existence? Or can one single bloom complain to the sun or the soil about the color of it's petals or the height to which it grows saying, " I would have been better this way, or that" ?Then how can we, being the firstfruit creatures of a holy,infinite, and omniscient God, created by divine intelligence, specifically and intricately for the express purpose of bringing Him glory, DARE to question even ONE MINUTE ASPECT of our being?