Recently, Kodi Lee won the 14th season of “America’s Got Talent.” Lee is 23 years old, has autism, and is legally blind.
As an American singer-songwriter and pianist, Lee rose to fame competing in and winning the reality competition show. Within two weeks of auditioning for “America’s Got Talent” earlier this year, Lee’s video had more than 30 million online views.
One of my favorite Bible stories is found in John, Chapter 9. Jesus meets a man who has been blind from birth. The disciples assume that this man’s physical ailment is the result of personal sin or perhaps the sin of his parents. In a uniquely teachable and countercultural moment, Jesus makes it perfectly clear that the cause of the man’s blindness is neither; God allowed it so he could work a miracle in this man’s life and demonstrate his healing power.
We tend to look for causes behind our limitations, failures and illnesses. Conversely, we have a tendency to take credit for the successes that come our way. There is much in life we cannot control; some things are simply the natural consequences of the physical laws governing the universe God created.
I recently met a new friend named Kate. Her world is not made up of sunsets, breathtaking views or signs that direct her way. Rather her world is made up of observing, listening and trying to read the actions of those around her, trying again and again, while learning to trust other people and explore new things. Kate, who was born blind, told me that she is thankful God works everything out in the end, and has found that the best thing in her life is letting God take control. She concluded by saying the best things happen when we inspire each other with stories of God’s redemption in our lives, when he turns our sins or our struggles into beauty.
Both Kodi Lee and Kate remind us that we cannot control what happens to us in life, but we can choose what our attitude will be. Our attitude toward the events of life determines our happiness more than the events themselves. God makes no mistakes; there are no accidents with God, and he is never surprised or caught off guard. If we do not believe this, when life’s difficulties come our way, we will see ourselves as victims, focusing on our own feelings.
Elisabeth Elliot, whose husband Jim was a missionary murdered in Ecuador once said: “All of us come to the place where we look into an abyss at some time or another in our lives, and from that abyss we see no gleam of light, no answering echo, and we are then face to face with the necessity of believing that God is God, of acknowledging his sovereignty, and of acknowledging that he is not under any obligation to explain himself to us. And if he is God, and we can trust him for Who he is, and not for what he does, which doesn’t happen to fit our categories or blueprints, we then must offer him our worship, our service, and our praise, and that is where faith begins, when there are no answers.”
We either believe that, or we complain about how unfair life is. Our confidence is in God; that he is at work, that he is in full control, that he is in the midst of whatever has happened, is happening and will happen.
Peter W. Teague has been president of Lancaster Bible College since 1999. Email: email@example.com.