Life is full of obstacles . . . and those who have overcome them. If anyone could have complained about her lot in life, Helen Keller was one of them. For a time, this is exactly what she did. As a child, she threw terrible fits, breaking lamps and dishes, kicking people, and even taking food from guests’ plates at the dinner table. Helen never heard the words, “I love you” come from her parents’ lips, for she was deaf. Her world was filled with blackness because she was blind.

A serious childhood illness had erased two of Helen’s five senses. No one knew how to communicate with her. Then God brought Anne Sullivan into her life. Anne patiently worked with Helen and transformed her into a sensation. Helen Keller became a widely published author, political activist, and lecturer.

Before Helen Keller became the celebrated figure we respect today, she had to endure great hardships. At any point in her life, she could have thrown up her hands in disgust and quit. But she said something which should strike a chord with every individual who has ever experienced any form of suffering: “Self-pity is our worst enemy; and if we yield to it, we can never do anything good in the world. . . . I thank God for my handicaps, for through them I have found myself, my work, and God.”

Helen Keller saw her disabilities as a gift from God to help her accomplish what no other individual could. From her life we learn to never give up when we are put through the fire of affliction, because this is where God heals our flaws and makes us profitable vessels for His service.

Are you experiencing a major setback in your life? Has a health problem sidelined you from ministry? Is some obstacle keeping you from reaching your fullest potential? Don’t give up. God can use your hardships to accomplish in you what no one else could ever do. His plan has not been thwarted by your limitations — rather, if you trust Him, it may be enhanced by them. With His help you can thrive, even with only three senses.

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.