We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)
In my devotionals, I’ve tried not to substitute them for book recommendations. But I am going to break my rule, and write a book recommendation/devotional. In the last month I finished a novel by Robert Dugoni entitled, “The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell.” I couldn’t put it down. It is about a boy named Sam Hill, but most people called him Sam “Hell,” because his eyes were bright red. Throughout his life he endured prejudice and ridicule, but his honest responses made his life extraordinary.
I won’t say any more about this extraordinary novel because I don’t want to ruin it for you. The vast majority of us have something challenging, frustrating, and/or worrisome about ourselves. For some, it can become more noticeable. Too often, at this point, we move within ourselves, and slowly, subtly push others away.
In this process, we foolishly believe we are somehow diminished. The subconscious tells us if we aren’t perfect, we aren’t worthy. What a bunch of malarkey. Red eyes, a limp, noticeable skin lesions, you name it, is not the totality of the person. For example, I am more than my Ulcerative Colitis. You are more than whatever you have, red eyes, bad colon, or a frustrating hearing aid. You are more. If anyone else doesn’t understand that, it is their issue, not yours.
Stand tall today. Offer your red eyes, or whatever else makes you uncomfortably noticeable, up to God. Ask God to give you the courage and the humility to see beyond just one small part of yourself. You are made in the image of God – red eyes, sore legs, or whatever else you or I might experience. Offer a prayer for courage, to get up, live fully, and without diminishing ourselves. When we live joyously, there is no end to the people we can bless, not unlike Sam Hell.