Did you know… that the US army used to use colour blind people to search for the enemy. Colour blind people were actually able to see camouflaged vehicles and people more easily than full-sighted people who were simply fooled by the colours. I really could never have imagined anyone who had impaired eyesight being very good at spotting the enemy. That makes no sense, it’s almost like having a deaf composer, oh wait, wasn’t his name Beethoven.
Another story is that of Oscar Pistorius, a South African athlete whose legs had to be amputated when he was a child. Oscar has broken many records at both a disabled and fully-abled level. He was in fact not allowed to take part in the Olympics because the IAAF thought his prosthetics gave him too much advantage. If you think rationally about that it is almost hilarious that the person without legs was seen to have a bigger advantage in a track race than a person with both legs.
It seems as though sometimes what is perceived to be better is in fact worse. We become so conditioned to what is supposed to be better that we overlook the rest. What is interesting to note is that, especially in the case of the colour-blind soldiers, what was seen to be a strength was a clear weakness. The full-sighted soldiers ability to see clearly in fact clouded their vision. They were distracted by colours and so stopped focusing on what was totally important. It was the colour-blind people who were in fact able to disregard the useless information in order to get what is truly important. Often we put so too much emphasis on what we see as important and what we see as strength that we allow it to cripple us.
Often achievement does not always lie in our strengths, often the true strength lies in a weakness. A great example of that is Moses, a person that God appointed to be a prophet to Israel and to give them the Law, and to lead them out of Egypt. Firstly Moses had a speech impediment which might be a problem when trying to tell all of Israel what God is saying. Also Moses was a murderer who went into hiding in the desert and so was probably not a prime candidate to get given the Ten Commandments. Yet despite all of these problems and obvious flaws God chose to us Moses as a prophet and many amazing and miraculous things occurred during his life.
To me it is so encouraging that God so easily uses people’s flaws for His glory. In 2 Corinthians 12 v. 9 Paul says “but He 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.”
“When I am weak then I am strong”. That verse is so powerful; that God can not only use our weakness, but that His power is made perfect in weakness. That means that God looks for weakness, for broken people and they make His power perfect. It’s not the people who get it right all the time, or the people who have enormous talents and abilities.
The whole thing actually scares me quite a lot, because I’m very comfortable with what I’m good at and would really like God to use my strengths. But if God had to start using my weaknesses I would only be able to rely on Him and that He would bring me through situations. I think that as we grow with God we can only start transforming our weaknesses into strengths as God uses them so much.
Christians often focus on gifts and understanding what God has gifted you in so that you can go and do that. I’m not against gifts in any way, but often they don’t look the way we expect them to. Perhaps God has gifted us with a brilliant social awkwardness, or amazingly bushy eyebrows, or a voice from a frog. Those don't seem like gifts at all, and yet what we see throughout the Scriptures is that God uses the people who suck. That the very nature of the people that God chooses to use are those who don’t have the best abilities or looks. Jesus himself was not even good looking; in Isaiah 53 it says “there was no beauty or majesty to attract us to him.” God seeks the people with problems, and that is tremendous as I've got a lot of those.
So my challenge to you is to not only rejoice in your inadequacies and weaknesses, but to allow God to use all of you; not just your strengths but your bushy eyebrows and frog voice too.