Listen to author Sheridan Voysey read this devotion aloud in the video below.
But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. — Ephesians 4:7
I made a number of discoveries while writing The Making of Us — one of them being that the trials of life can actually release our greatest gifts into the world.
You think of some of the great artists:
Think about the painter Degas, for example. He suffered from retina disease for the last fifty years of his life. He had to switch from using paint to pastel because the chalk lines were easier for him to see.
What about Renoir? He had to have brushes placed between his fingers when arthritis made them clench like claws.
What about Matisse? When cancer surgery left him immobile, he turned to collage, getting assistants to attach coloured pieces of paper to a larger sheet fixed on the wall.
Now here’s the thing: the result for each of them was a new creative breakthrough.
- Degas’ Blue Dancers
- Renoir’s Girls at the Piano
- Matisse’s The Sorrows of the King, and other masterpieces came about from these change of practices for each one of these artists. The melding of their trial with their talent brought something new into existence.
There are other examples:
Think of Maya Angelou. She found her writer’s voice by combing her experiences of poverty and racism with her poetic gifts.
What about Joni Eareckson-Tada? She combined the horrific experience of quadriplegia with a gift of encouragement to start Joni and Friends, an organisation that’s helped countless people with disabilities all across the world.
What about Chuck Colson? After being incarcerated from his part in the Watergate scandal, he used that humbling experience (and it should have been humbling) combined with his leadership abilities to start an amazing organisation called Prison Fellowship, which has changed the lives of inmates and their families everywhere.
What trial have you faced? What deep pain? What deep difficulty? You can mine it for its:
- Questions raised in you
- Lessons you’ve learned from it
- The empathy its birthed in you
- The doors it’s opened into new tribes of people you otherwise would have never met.
Now marry it with your talents — your God-given gifts and strengths…
Then start to imagine what those two things could birth together. Start to imagine what new books, and artworks, and poems, and policies, and blogs, and podcasts, and ministries could be birthed as a result of you bringing these two things together, ways that you could bring hope and help to other people by marrying your trial with your talent.
Original devotion written for Devotionals Daily by Sheridan Voysey, author of The Making of Us.
* * *
What trials have you been through? What are you going through right now? And, remember that question that God asked Moses, “What is in your hand?” (Exodus 4:2). What pain of your life plus what gift/talent has He given you that could be used for His glory? Come share with us on our blog. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily