Romans 8: 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
Shaquem Griffin was born with amniotic band syndrome which affected his left hand, by not allowing his fingers to fully develop. At the age of four his mother found Shaquem attempting to use a butcher’s knife to amputate his own hand because he could not handle the pain. His parents scheduled an amputation the next day. Despite the loss of his hand, Shaquem continued playing sports in high school competing in track, baseball, and football (along with his twin brother Shaquille). Not only did Shaquem play football, he excelled getting a football scholarship at the University of Central Florida (UCF) with his twin brother and winning multiple awards including the National College Football championship in 2017. Although he didn’t originally receive an invitation, Griffen participated in the NFL Scouting Combine in March 2018. He made headlines for performing 20 reps in the bench press wearing a prosthesis and for running the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds, the fastest time for a linebacker since the NFL began releasing stats. Griffen was selected in the 5th round by the Seattle Seahawks reuniting him with his brother Shaquill. On August 9, 2018 Shaquem made his preseason debut and on September 9th he started in his first NFL regular season game.
Shaquem had every reason to hang his head low and complain about what he did not have, especially when comparing himself to his twin brother, but it appears that “poor me” were not words that he uttered. While the facts of his situation could not change, he did have control over his perspective.
This reminds me of a story I recently heard about famed hymn writer Fanny Crosby who wrote more than 8000 hymns and gospel songs between 1864-1915. Fanny is known as the “Queen of Gospel Song Writers” and the “Mother of modern congregational singing in America”. She was that prolific despite developing blindness at the age of six weeks.
People marvelled at Fanny’s productivity, but they found the most remarkable thing about her was that she had done so in spite of her blindness. Apparently, a well-meaning preacher once said to her: “I think it is a great pity that the Master did not give you sight when he showered so many other gifts upon you.”. Fanny apparently responded without hesitation: “Do you know that if at birth I had been able to make one petition, it would have been that I was born blind? Because when I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior.”[i]
When I heard this story about Fanny it made me consider the things that I complain about; if I’m honest the majority of them are inconveniences compared to what Fanny had to overcome. And Fanny, not only overcame her disability, she changed her perspective to see it as a positive. There was nothing she could do about her blindness, she only had control over her attitude. Fanny was a true overcomer. As the Apostle Paul said: “37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37)
Are you struggling in an area of your life, perhaps feeling that you have not been dealt a fair hand? Perhaps consider Fanny’s attitude and consider whether you should be praying for a change of attitude rather than a change of circumstances.