Paul says we Christians are running a race. Here's what I'm looking at on my run toward Christ.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Ollie Johnson's Stutter

When I was growing up we had a family friend named Ollie Johnson.  Ollie and his wife were an amazing older couple that were loads of fun and they were tremendous Christian people.

Phyllis and Ollie would sit next to one another and Ollie would crack a joke and then Phyllis would elbow him playfully in the ribs.  They were just a riot.  Everyone was drawn to them and Ollie told most of them many times how much he loved the Lord.  They were and he was a great witness for Christ.

One thing about Ollie is that he had a severe stutter.  He would tell a story and you'd hear, like a machine gun, "Annnn annnannnn annn aaannanan annnan and..."  His whole body would move with his stutter until he got passed the word and continued on.  In fact, sometimes his jokes were funnier because the anticipation for the punchline grew with his stutter.

Ollie's stutter would have stopped most people from talking and sharing anything, let alone sharing their faith.  I mean, what stops you and I from witnessing?  I have a million of bad excuses not to share my hope in Christ.  Ollie's excuse topped my excuses, but it never stopped him.  Ollie's stutter makes me think of the passage below from 2 Corinthians chapter 12.

"... there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.  Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it from me.  But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest in me."  2 Corinthians 12:7b-9

We don't know what Paul's "thorn in the flesh" was because he never defined it.  It may have been malaria, epilepsy or an eye disease that sometimes kept him from working.  We don't know.  Maybe it was a stutter.  Some in the church at Corinth made fun of Paul saying he was a great writer but bad public speaker, so perhaps it was a stutter.  Bottom line is we don't know what it was but we know that it hindered Paul and God, in His wisdom, refused to relieve Paul of it.

I wonder how many times Ollie prayed for his stutter to go away.  I'm sure he pleaded with God and told God how much better he could be at sharing his testimony without the stutter, but Ollie stuttered to the day he died.  However, Ollie never let his stutter stop him from brightening the lives of people and sharing about his Lord and Savior.

I've been telling you about how Ollie stuttered, but I've left one part out.  I never heard Ollie stutter when he prayed aloud.  It was as if Christ's power was shown perfect in his weakness.

Don't let anything stop you from glorifying God.  Your weaknesses can show off the power of Christ. Are you in a wheelchair?  Don't let it stop you.  Do you have dyslexia?  Don't let it stop you.  Are you afraid talking in front of a crowd?  Don't let it stop you.  Crohn's disease?  Don't let it stop you.  Don't let anything stop you because, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."

Your greatest weakness might just be your greatest opportunity to show less of you and more of Jesus.

"That is why, for Christ sake, I delight in weakness, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong."  2 Corinthians 12:10

Don't believe the lie.  Don't let your weaknesses stop you from serving God today.

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