Strength out of Weakness
"My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness."1
In his book, Confidence, Alan Loy McGinnis talks about a famous study entitled "Cradles of Eminence" by Victor and Mildred Goertzel, in which the family backgrounds of 300 highly successful people were studied.
Many of the names of those in the study were well-known to most of us—including Franklin D. Roosevelt, Helen Keller, Winston Churchill, Albert Schweitzer, Gandhi, and Einstein—all of whom were brilliant in their field of expertise.
The results of this study are both surprising and encouraging for many of us who came from a less than desirable home life. For example: "Three-quarters of the children were troubled either by poverty, by a broken home, or by rejecting, over-possessive or dominating parents.
"Seventy-four of 85 writers of fiction or drama and 16 of the 20 poets came from homes where, as children, they saw tense psychological drama played out by their parents.
"Physical handicaps such as blindness, deafness, or crippled limbs characterized over one-quarter of the sample."
These people who had confidence in their abilities and put them to creative use had more weaknesses and handicaps than many who have all of their faculties intact and who had a reasonably good home life background. So, what made the difference? Probably by compensating for their weaknesses they excelled in other areas.
One man reported, "What has influenced my life more than any other single thing has been my stammer. Had I not stammered I would probably have gone to Cambridge as my brothers did, perhaps have become a don and every now and then published a dreary book about French literature." The speaker who stammered until his death was W. Somerset Maugham, as he looked back on his life at age 86.
"By then he had become a world-renowned author of more than 20 books, 30 plays, and scores of essays and short stories."
It's not what we have or don't have that matters in life but what we do with what we have. All God expects of us is that we don't allow our past to determine our future, and that with his help we use what we have to the best of our ability.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank You for the gifts You have given to me, no matter how small or large, help me to develop and use them to my total God-given potential, and to use them for Your glory. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."
1. 2 Corinthians 12:9.