I have limits as do you. No matter how hard I had trained as a kid, I’m pretty sure that I would have never been able to dunk a basketball or throw a 95 mph fastball. My lovely bride, having had one of her knees replaced a year ago, has put the idea of running completely out of her mind. But those limits, or the more significant ones that clutter up the lives of many people, do not mean that we cannot achieve things.
You might know who came in first in the 2015 Boston Marathon, but do you know who came in last? Maickel Melamed, a thirty-nine-year-old Venezuelano took that distinction, finishing the course in about 20 hours. Think about that. I could have run my two-hour half marathon, slept eight hours, and then run a three-hour follow up half and still have beaten Melamed by enough time to fly coast to coast. Twenty hours for 26.2 miles is way slower than most people walk.
But Melamed, who has suffered for years from a rare muscular disorder that makes simple movement exceptionally difficult, started and finished Boston. He has also accomplished a good number of other things that can’t have been easy.
God did not call most of us to win Olympic gold medals, break hockey records, or lift more weight than anyone before. He didn’t call most of us to be CEOs or Supreme Court justices or winners on The Voice. My body, including my brain and my voice, did not equip me for any of those things, but that limit does not give me a reason to stop trying.
Think of Paul’s companion, Silas. Did Silas look at Paul and bemoan a lack of writing skills, preaching skills, mental acumen, or (probably) charisma? We don’t hear about people crying that they’d never see Silas again. But still Silas did his duty. He made the most of his opportunities. Acts does not disclose exactly how valuable Silas was, but the fact that he stuck by Paul’s side says that he did not let his limits limit him.
If Maickel Melamed can finish the Boston Marathon, surely I can work through the shortcomings life has dealt me. I might not completely overcome them, just as Melamed will never run a competitive race, but in pushing forward despite them, I can, like this man, discover some of the wonders God has in store for me.