Initially, it struck me as funny simply because I know that few "crippled people" would consider anyone who got to take their place as lucky. While technology and medicine make life more convenient for the handicapped every day, that is still an enormous life obstacle. Then if you think back to the time that Christ was on earth — and people routinely used such terminology as "the crippled person" — the handicapped were truly considered the outcast and useless of society. No, I don't imagine anyone who gets to be the crippled person would be considered lucky.
Then I began thinking of being Jesus. Now there's an impossible standard. I realize, however, that I am called to be precisely that. I am the hands and feet and aroma of Jesus to the world we live in. Yes, those are some mighty big shoes to fill, especially when I consider myself to identify far more closely with the "crippled person" than with Jesus. I find myself handicapped in God's kingdom on a regular basis. I am crippled, and paralyzed by doubt and fear. I am blind to the faithfulness and majesty of my God. I am deaf to His calling in my life. Yes, in His kingdom, I see myself as the "crippled person."
Gloriously, our Father specializes in putting handicaps — physical, social, and otherwise — to use for His glory and gain! The Gospel of John introduces us to a woman shunned by society for not living according to the moral standards of those around her (John 4). Jesus used her, the woman at the well, to bring his good news to her entire region (John 4:39-41). A little later in the gospel, John tells of a blind man that Jesus said was born blind "that the work of God might be displayed in his life" (John 9:2 NIV). He was given sight and through his sight illustrated the blindness of the Pharisees (John 9:39-41). These are only two of many occurrences throughout Jesus' life on earth that show that "the least of these" are sometimes the best messengers of His word and glory.
Paul learned that God's glory shines the brightest through handicaps and weaknesses:
[The Lord] said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
Yes, indeed, I am so lucky, or really blessed, as I like to say. I get to be the handicapped person so that Jesus can be seen in me.
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