Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Nick Vujicic was born without arms or legs, yet he travels around the world, enjoys fishing, plays golf, and even surfs. “I love living life,” he says. “And I’m happy.”
But he hasn’t always felt that way. When he was around eight years old, the teasing he endured from classmates caused him to feel broken, bitter, hopeless…so much so that he wanted to end his life, since he felt there was no point in living any longer.
But by age 13, his attitude had changed. His mother had made sure he met other disabled people, some with greater handicaps than his, which helped him realize he wasn’t the only one coping with challenges.
At first, Nick didn’t understand Jeremiah 29:11, which says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” But he began to realize he didn’t have to understand it for it to be true. “Just because you don’t see the plans God has for you,” Nick says, “doesn’t mean He doesn’t have any.” So, he gave up his anger and bitterness and began giving thanks for the blessings he did have.
Nick, now an adult, testifies to audiences around the world: “God has given me grace, strength, and comfort through my disability. You can have peace and joy in your life, even in circumstances that don’t make sense or turn your world upside down.”
His testimony has helped an estimated 140,000 people come to faith in Christ. Although some evangelists tell folks that believing in God will cause all their problems to disappear, Nick says, “God is more interested in changing your heart than your circumstances.”
Although Nick continues to ask God to give him arms and legs, he’s content, even happy, without them. “God has given me such a big, big ministry. It’s such a beautiful thing to witness people’s hearts being changed and transformed because of the testimony I bring of God’s glory, grace, and perfection.”
He has learned the same lesson the Apostle Paul learned centuries ago. Paul had something wrong, too, although Paul never said specifically what it was. He only referred to his problem as a “thorn in the flesh,” which implies discomfort of some sort.
Like Nick, Paul prayed for God to remove his problem, but God chose not to. Three times Paul begged the Lord to take the “thorn” away. But each time, God said to Paul, “My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Like Nick, Paul trusted God to work in his life, despite his problems. And God gave each of them a far-reaching ministry, one that permits others to see the power of God working inside a human body that can boast of little strength of its own.
Their lives, like those of many others, verify the truth of Jeremiah 29:11. God DOES have a purpose for you and me. He DOES have a plan to bring about good through our lives. It matters not whether we are crippled or able-bodied, poverty-stricken or rich, uneducated or a Rhodes scholar…God can use us according to the plans He’s had for us since before He formed us in the womb.
Dear Lord, we thank You that You have a purpose for each of us no matter the circumstances we find our self in. Give us the trust to put completely in You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.