A couple of years ago I was listening to a discussion by blind people about their experiences in the church and my heart was deeply grieved. For more than 60 years I had been attending church as a blind person and had found it most satisfying. Yes, there has been occasional problems with people, but that isn't God's fault. He instructed us through the Apostle Paul not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together and that for good reasons. And let's not forget that Paul himself had vision problems too. Some folks possibly rejected him for that reason, others because of doctrinal issues. Did that prevent Paul from ministering or being ministered to? No!
I also am a musician, which is not a spiritual gift by the way, but natural. Over the years I have listened to other saints sing, who had less talent, however, I knew their heart for God, was blessed and enjoyed what was presented far more than some highly skilled individual who had a great opinion of him or herself. Now then, one question might be, Where is your heart? Is it seeking approval from God, men or self? And let us not become guilty of the same kind of attitudes toward others concerning which we find them at fault. God knows the motives of our heart.
One observation I have made over the years is that many blind or disadvantaged people have fallen into a mind-set that sees them as victims. If I may say so, this is an attitude fostered by the world system and the devil and not by the Word of God. Unfortunately, many in the church take the same attitude about blindness, deafness, poverty, et cetera, you name it. There is a general flavor of Christianity that says whoever suffers from all such problems is at fault, because they lack faith. Faith is the gift of God and not of self-produced works. If you are attending one of those kind of churches, may I suggest, if possible, to find another local assembly that teaches the Word more accurately.
Remember what Paul wrote to the Corinthian church that was as carnal as a beef steak? And that in great part because they were showing prejudice towards one another. "There has no temptation (trial or testing) taken you but such as is common to man, but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted (tried or tested) beyond that you are able; but will with the temptation (trial or testing) make a way of escape that you may be able to bear up under it.
Like a great many folk, I used to stop at the word escape, but Paul didn't. He understood that God would provide the strength to endure any trial or test that came his way. God allows these problems in order that the world and angels might see that by the grace of God Jesus Christ can be lived out in us. The circumstances of life are then permitted for our benefit, growth and the glory of God. My disappointment, discontent, self-pity, and anger do not bring glory to God. So, let all things be done to the honor and glory of God!
Paul wrote to the Philippians about their financial gift, however, the following verses speak to every circumstance in the Christian's life.
4:11 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.
12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.
13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
Our relationship to God is the most important issue in life for us. After that our relationship to other believers, in and out of the local church, and then the unsaved world around us are to be considered. As we grow more familiar with His Word, as we seek his desires for our life, as we become more sensitive to the quite and peaceful leading of the Spirit, we can know what God has for us in this life whether up front or behind the scenes in prayer.
Listening for His shout! -- Grant
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