A few months ago I met a boy. He was a 9-year-old as any other – going to school, playing with his friends, telling silly jokes and all the other things boys his age do. I met him in his school; I was asked to come to help him during his classes as he needed the extra support. At first, I did not think much of it; it was my job to go to various schools to support kids with special educational needs or to help with problematic behavior.
But this day was very different from all the others, mainly because this boy was blind, in a public school and I was not expecting nor was I trained for working with physically disabled children. It was just natural for me to start analyzing his possible thought processes and insecurities before I even met him.
I thought, surely he would be shy and quiet because he is different from all his classmates. Or that he would not want to join in with learning because it was more difficult for him. I even thought of a possibility that he would be rude and self-consumed because power so often serves as an easy coping mechanism.
I had all these thoughts in my head, trying to pick a strategy for working with this problematic boy who was about to walk through the door any minute.
Since the moment he came in to the end of the day he kept surprising me and wrecking my presumptions about him. He was not shy or quiet, but rather one of the loudest in the room. He was not scared of any challenge and was so eager to learn I could not keep up with all of his questions. On top of it all, he was by far one of the kindest, sweetest kids I have ever worked with. He was full of joy, energy, and yearning for all the good life has to offer.
His favorite activity was to read, the most exciting part of it being long new words, learning how to spell them, count their letters and find the middle one – all using a Brillo machine and his fingers. At the end of this sequence there would be a happy exclamation: “this word is so big! It has 11 letters with a ‘t’ in the middle!” his excitement was contagious. He had his special book that must have been hilarious because he could not stop laughing and his kind heart could not keep the jokes to himself so he always translated it for me so we could laugh together.
What I saw in this boy at first was everything that was destroyed and stolen from him. But he knew that was not what defined him. We all have our ‘blindness’, that thing or situation which has a potential to drain our energy, to be too hard, to leave us wondering that maybe that is all there is to life. But it is only a potential and if we grant it the power to take over, it will take it.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10 (NIV)
Jesus came that we may have life in all its fullness. We are not bound to what happened to us, we are not slaves to whatever the enemy tries to kill, steal and destroy in our lives. We are freed, given new life, forgiven, and loved.
Every day is a new beginning with Jesus – every minute if you need it, Jesus does not count it; with Him it is always as if it was the first time. We don’t have to just know He is giving the new life to us; we can accept it and own it.
This boy is 9-years-old and after only one day he managed to inspire me for months. He might not know Jesus but he certainly knows that there is more to life than bullies, constantly bumping into things, being different in such a hard way, not ever seeing his parents, or even having to get through his whole life with by far not as much support and resources as people with sight.
There is always more to life than what you have to face today, tomorrow or even in a year. No matter how difficult your situation is, Jesus is offering comfort, joy, love, unity, peace, purpose, forgiveness, new life and so much more. He is offering you a life in all its fullness so take it and own it.
Do not let the enemy kill, steal and destroy what you have; rather see yourself as a child of God, fearfully and wonderfully made, blessed with all the heavenly blessings and with the Holy Spirit as your helper.
Rejoice for he has given you a new life – life in all its fullness.