Admit it: y’all cried too.
The Facebook story gone viral (see link above) about the deaf and blind man on the Alaska Air flight that flight attendants couldn’t communicate with. They end up making an announcement asking if anyone knows sign language.
Enter Clara (as Jesus cracks His knuckles ready to do some work). Clara is able to communicate the man’s needs to the flight attendants, and the man finds a kindred soul he can communicate with on what he later called “the best flight of his life.”
It is truly a heart-warming story, but did you see the heart of the miracle? It’s buried in the middle:
Clara has dyslexia.
It turns out sign language is one of the easier languages to learn if you have dyslexia, and Clara only learned it as a result of the need to overcome and adapt to her condition. Dyslexia is a reading disorder which causes people who have it a lot of trouble reading despite having normal or above average intelligence. Spelling, reading, and/or writing words -- something many of us do easily -- can be incredibly difficult for those who have it.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” - 2 Cor 12:9
Can you imagine what struggles Clara must have experienced when she realized her dyslexia made her different from everyone else? The number of times she must’ve asked “why” and begged God (even if she wasn’t a believer) to have it go away? We have ALL been Clara. Maybe you don’t have dyslexia, but maybe you ask God why He’s inflicted you with a different genetic or medical condition. Or perhaps you feel He didn’t build you with enough intelligence, the right body type, physical abilities, etc.
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” - Psalm 139:13-14
God built Clara with dyslexia which allowed Clara to adapt and flex around her condition. But if Clara didn’t have dyslexia, this beautiful display of humanity never would’ve happened. Real talk: I needed Clara the day that post went viral. Our country has been so divided, and there has been so much ugliness in the news for so long, I could feel myself losing my faith in humanity as hopelessness slowly took over.
“…we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” - Rom 5:3-4
God brought Clara, the blind and deaf man who received this blessing, and the woman who posted the story together on this flight to be light that pierced the darkness. The Lord used Clara’s dyslexia to bless -- not only the man on the plane -- but the entire world. I bet in those moments of suffering through the effects of her dyslexia, Clara had no idea the joy she would bring to the man on the plane, the relief she provided the flight attendants, and she definitely had NO CLUE the hope and connection she would inspire in so many people all over the world.
What are you suffering through today that you you’ve asked God “why” about for the millionth time? We know in our heads that we’re never really the only person on earth who is dealing with a difficult circumstance, even though it often feels that way. But God is right at the center of it all waiting for the right time to demonstrate His power if you let Him.
What is a way you can reframe the suffering in your life to minimize or prevent your own suffering and the suffering of others? Pray and give thanks to God for these difficulties, because He is using it to make you strong and a beacon of hope for others!