There are a couple of questions that are almost a given whenever I go out into public. The first is, “Are you cold?” Which is a question I definitely understand. There’s just not a category for people when they meet someone without arms. There’s no way that I am missing both arms, so I have obviously put my arms in my shirt…right?
The second question that I inevitably get from people is, “Sssooooo…what happened?” Again, there’s just not a normal category to process my armlessness through. People assume there has to be some sort of wild and crazy store that produced the no armed person that is standing in front of them. They want THAT story, so it is a little deflating to them when I tell them, “This is just the way I was born.”
Typically I don’t leave the conversation with just that because there’s more of a story to tell. There’s more of the story that people want to hear – that people need to hear. Not only had God made me armless, but He had also sustained my armless self all through the years. But even more than that, God had done more than just allowing me to get along in my physical life. He saved me, He gave me purpose, He gave me joy, He gave me my everything.
That’s the part of the story that I need to tell and ultimately that people want to hear: God has been my everything even in the worst possible circumstances. As much as people don’t have a category for a man without arms there’s also not much of a category for a man without arms who seems perfectly content with his life. There’s a hope and comfort that people recognize and want.
Just as much as they need to hear about the comfort God has given me, I need to be willing to share the comfort God has blessed me with in my life. Many of us would call that our “testimony.” It is the telling of how God has saved us from our sins and how His grace is actively changing our life day after day. For those of us in Christ, we have a testimony to tell.
Whether it is the story of how God saved an armless man and gave him an identity apart from his circumstances or if it is the story of how you trusted Jesus as Lord at age 8 and He has protected you from the regret of sin ever since. They are two different stories, but they both feature the same hero – Jesus.
The story that God has given you is a story that needs to end in His glory, not yours. You’ve been given, comfort, grace and hope to remind you of how good and gracious God is. Those same graces are given so that you can show them to them world and to tell anyone who is willing to listen, “My King is kind and gracious. He can be your King too.”
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” ~ 2 Cor 1:3-4
God is kind, loving, and merciful. Your testimony has the fingerprints of the grace of God so that you can know that you know He loves you and He hasn’t left you. That’s the legacy that the world needs to know just as much. They need to know that God can step into their brokenness and save them. They need to know that God can give them to strength to walk through another day of darkness and hurt. They need to know and your story can be the means by which they get to know that.
You have a story to share because you have a comfort that He has given you. You have a hope; now it is time to share it.