As I combed my hair, brushed my teeth and walked to my car, it was a different sort of day. I was more appreciative of being able to do these simple things because of something I’d just watched.
As I got into my car, placed the key in the ignition and drove to work, the feeling continued. Then also as I parked my car, got out and walked into work.
As I type this on my keyboard, I am so much more aware of my 10 fingers and my ability to sit here and do this. Again, it’s a different sort of day.
So often we take for granted the wondrous body God has given us. He designed it to work so perfectly at our will. Are we grateful for this miracle? Do we use it for His glory?
There are people who do not have the same level of blessing many of us do in terms of fully functional bodies—a fact brought home to me in a powerful way through a documentary I just watched about a young man named Robert Mendez.
Robert was born May 9, 1988, without arms or legs, the result of a condition known as Tetra–Amelia, a rare congenital disorder that prevents the formation of limbs during embryonic development. Now 31, he has lived his entire life without arms and legs. He is mobile thanks to the chair he controls with his head and neck. It has given him a life otherwise inaccessible.
It was humbling to see this program. Watching him move around on the floor as a child—such a happy child even—and then grow into the man he is today, I just sat there and cried.
This young man did not let his disabilities stop him from being all he could be! Mendez went on to become a remarkable high school football coach in America. His favorite phrase to the young men he coaches and his motto in his life is, “Who says I can’t?!”
Mendez accepted the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at the 2019 ESPYs (Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Award). In his acceptance speech, he was grateful, thanking his parents and also giving glory to God. He further stressed the importance of focusing on what you can do instead of what you can’t. (You can find his speech on YouTube by searching for the name of the award.)
Again, are we grateful for what God has given us? Do we use it to be the best we can be for Him and for others, as Robert Mendez has tried to do? What an inspiration this man is to others—including me.
When Jesus Christ returns, He will begin the process of bringing healing to the whole world. But in the meantime, there are those like Robert who, though facing hardship, set an amazing example of gratitude while pushing themselves to be all they can be.
These examples humble us and teach us valuable lessons. Here are two lessons I take from Mendez’s story.
First, be grateful for what God has given you and to those who have helped you.
And second, live your life to be the best you can be with what God has given you, so you can help and inspire others!
The opposite is mentioned in Romans 1:21, which describes the corrupt world of this age, and the fruit of an ungrateful heart: “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
We should always be giving God thanks for the things He has given us, and use them for His glory, and for the inspiration and encouragement of others.
Start your day with such gratitude and purpose along with a “can do” approach to life. Don’t use the words “I can’t”—for with God’s help, “all things are possible” (Mark 10:27).
Robert Mendez did not let his shortcomings stop him, but with gratitude and resolve, he rose above his challenges to inspire and help others. He certainly inspired me.
Let’s never take for granted the miraculous body God has given us! And let us always ask God for help where we lack or face challenges.
“Who says I can’t?” Let it not be us. For with God, we can.