Mark Speckman is an interesting story. He was a High School star linebacker, played Junior College then at a four-year NAIA college at the same position, and then coached college football for 20 years (he followed Dan Hawkins at Willamette in 1998). He can write, type, use a cell phone, drive, play racquetball, and play trombone (USA Today, 10/4/05). What’s so unusual about that? Speckman was born without hands! He has never let that stand in his way, but has used the handicap to inspire and motivate others.
Each of us will enjoy advantages and suffer some disadvantages throughout life, regardless of our age, income, citizenship, looks, and background. While some seem to have greater challenges than others, the greatest determining factor seems to be attitude, focus, and determination. Do I use my “handicaps” as an excuse? Am I full of self-pity? Do my problems cause me to give up and check out?
We will not know on this side of time what Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” was, but we know it tormented him (2 Cor. 12:7), drove him to his knees three times in prayer about it (12:8), and was a weakness for him (12:10). He writes this after detailing the many trials he faced for doing what was right, preaching the gospel (2 Cor. 11:23-33). Yet, he never fell back on any of this as an excuse for failing to reach, teach, serve, and help others. Apparently, as he hurt within and worked through his own limitations, he kept his focus on doing the Lord’s work through his Christian service.
The question is not whether you suffer and struggle or even if you have a thorn to contend with. In your own way, you probably will and on an ongoing basis. Will it be a crutch or a catapult? Will it hold you down or launch you higher? That depends on you. What will you do about it?