What if we were to embrace our limitations, knowing God is molding, shaping, and growing us; chipping away at our fears, so we can better reflect the Creator?
We all have limitations—whether they be physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual—but we serve a God who is limitless. But limitations are bold. They always stand ready at the forefront, mocking our progress, while the limitless power of the Creator seems all but . . . invisible. Therefore, stepping out beyond a limitation—taking a risk—involves tremendous trust, knowing God has purposefully placed you where you are, in this moment, to accomplish more than you could ever imagine through His strength.
I recently watched the music video for Audio Adrenaline’s hit song, “Believer” (see below) and was mesmerized by the story behind the song. Derek Rabelo, a young Brazilian man, was born into darkness. Completely and totally blind. But he dreamed of surfing. An impossible task. An unimaginable feat. And He didn’t just want to surf—he wanted to surf Pipeline on the North Shore of Oahu, one of the most dangerous surf destinations in the world.
I don’t know Derek’s story cover to cover. But I do know when he was seventeen, he made a decision: to live above his limitations and live out his dream. He made a decision to use someone else’s eyes.
It took three years of incredible perseverance, the belief (and eyes) of two surf instructors, and some intense wipeouts, but Derek made it to Pipeline. He now surfs with his heroes, is sponsored by big-name surfing companies, and is taking on bigger and better waves.
As Big Wave Pioneer, Laird Hamilton, said, “I think being a surfer, it’s all about faith. Because you are waiting for something that you really can’t see.” Being blind takes that statement to a whole different level.
Whether Laird knew it or not, his statement essentially paraphrases 2 Corinthians 5:7 which says, “We are to live by faith, not by sight.” Derek does this daily, both spiritually and physically. His faith in Jesus Christ and what God could do through him outweighed what the surf could do to him. And as a result, he is a living, breathing testimony and inspiration to others.
In an interview, Derek said, “When someone says I can’t or shouldn’t do something, it makes me a bit angry and gives me more drive to go out there and do it.”
He went on to say, “The word disability sounds very limiting. I prefer not to use that word very much.”
When you don’t have sight, you are reliant on your other senses to guide and direct you. Because Derek can’t see, his sense of hearing is magnified. He can hear the roar of each wave, knowing when to duck below the surf or ride it out.
In the same way, we must turn an ear to the sounds and voices coming at us. Are the jeers and taunts coming from the enemy? Are those discouraging blows causing you to set aside a divine purpose for a mediocre existence?
Derek’s unshakeable faith helped him refocus those “voices,” using them as a fuel to do all that God intended him to do.
Derek may not be able to see physically, but he is able to see spiritually in a way that many of us often can’t.
Are you seeing your limitation or disability through your own human reasoning, or are you seeing it through the holy lens and limitless power of Jesus Christ?