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Man without Limbs, Life without Limits

My parents knew well the oft-quoted verse from James 1:2: "Consider it pure joy, my Brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds." Dad, as pastor of our church, had often taught on this virtue. However, on the morning of December 4, 1982, in Melbourne, Australia, the words “Praise God!” were far from their lips. Their firstborn son had been born without limbs! There had been no warnings, and even the doctors were shocked. They had no answers.

The whole church mourned over my birth, and my parents were absolutely devastated. People questioned why a God of love would let something like this happen, especially to dedicated Christians. My Dad thought I would not survive for long, but tests proved that I was a healthy baby boy—just with a few limbs missing.

Understandably, my parents had strong concerns about what kind of life I would be able to lead. The first big hurdle for them was to be at peace and trust that God was in control. It took a number of months of grief, with questions and tears, before their hearts came to terms with my condition. But God, always so faithful, provided them strength, wisdom, and courage through those early years, and before long I was old enough to go to school.

Many people assumed that because of my physical disability, I was also mentally disabled. The law in Australia, at that time, didn’t allow me to be integrated into a mainstream school. But my mom began to fight to get the law changed, and God did a miracle. I was one of the first disabled students to be integrated into a mainstream school.

I liked school, and I tried to live life like an ordinary kid. But during my early years of school, I felt rejected and weird, and was often bullied because of my physical difference. It was very hard for me to get used to. There were times when I felt so low that I didn’t want to go to school because I didn’t want to face all the negative attention. I knew that I was different, but on the inside I was just like everyone else. During these years, my parents were my strong support. They encouraged me to ignore what others said about me and to make friends by being friendly myself.When I demonstrated this attitude, other students realized that I was just like them, and they began to be my friends.

Even so, there still were times when I felt depressed and angry because I could not change the way I was, or blame someone for my condition. I could not understand, if God loved me, why He made me like I was. Had I done something wrong? Why was I the only kid who was weird? I felt like I was a burden to those around me, and everyone would be better off if I died. I wanted to end my pain and end my life at a young age, but I am thankful for my parents and family who were always there to comfort me and give me strength.

As I grew older, God continued to teach me to seek Him above all else. When I was around 12 years old, I began to realize how greatly blessed I was. So why should I complain? The verse in Romans 8:28,"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him," spoke to my heart. I became convinced that there is no such thing as luck, chance, or coincidence. I gained complete peace knowing that God had a good purpose for my life.

At age 15 I gave my life fully to Christ. I read John 9 where Jesus explained that the reason a man was born blind was “so that the works of God may be revealed in his life.” At that time, I prayed that God would heal me so I could be a great testimony of His Awesome Power. Later on, I was given the wisdom to understand that when we pray for something, if it is God’s will, it will happen in His time. But if it is not God’s will, we can know that He has something better for us. I now see that God’s glory is revealed in my life, and He is using me just the way I am, and in ways others can’t be used.

In recent years, I have become more independent and can now take care of all my personal needs. I can do everything from brushing my teeth, combing my hair, dressing up, taking care of my personal hygiene and even shaving. I get around the house by jumping around, and outside the house, I use an electric wheelchair. I love to swim, fish, and play soccer.

I am now 23 years old and have completed a Bachelor of Commerce degree, with a major in Financial Planning and Accounting. I am also a motivational speaker. Because of my experiences with low self-esteem and loneliness, God has implanted a passion for sharing my story with others, especially youth, to help them cope with whatever challenge they have in their lives, and let God turn it into a blessing. I also frequently share my testimony in the corporate sector.

Wherever God leads, I want to follow. With His help, I hope to achieve some dreams in my life: to become the best witness I can be of God's love and hope and to become an international inspirational speaker in both Christian and non-Christian venues. I also dream of becoming financially independent by age 25 through real estate investments, modifying a car for me to drive, and sharing my story on the "Oprah Winfrey Show"! On top of this, I would like to write several best selling books!

Some people may think these goals are too far-fetched for a person with my disabilities. However, I believe that if we have the desire and passion to do something, and if it is God's will, we can achieve our goal. As humans, we continually put limits on ourselves for no reason at all! And what is worse, is putting limits on God who can do all things. The awesome thing about the power of God is that if He wants us to do something, we don’t need to focus on our capability, only on our availability. It is God who works through us, and we can’t do anything without Him. Once we make ourselves available to do His work, we can rely on His capabilities.

I know God has a great purpose for my life—indeed, for every person’s life! If we diligently seek Him, He will give wisdom and strength for our journey.

(This article is a compilation of Nick’s testimonies used with permission. To know more about Nick and his ministries, please visit www.lifewithoutlimbs.org.)

Article Link: http://ccmusa.org/read/read.aspx?id=chg20060401
To reuse online, please credit Challenger, Oct-Dec 2006. CCMUSA.