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Focus on the Family Broadcast

Finding God’s Purpose in Adversity

Finding God’s Purpose in Adversity

Daniel Ritchie has faced remarkable adversity, yet he claims being born without arms was a gift. He shares how he overcame despair and discovered how to glorify God through his pain.
Original Air Date: March 2, 2022

Preview:

Daniel Ritchie: From me to, at that point, to see the gospel in that lens, and, and for me to not keep score of God’s grace towards me on my terms, but on His.

Jim: Hmm. Yeah.

Daniel: Man, that, that changed everything.

End of Preview:

John Fuller: That’s Daniel Ritchie, and he’s our guest today on Focus on the Family, uh, sharing how he’s found hope in the midst of intense physical challenges. I do hope you’ll stay with us for, uh, this conversation as we hear powerful truths to ground you in difficult circumstances. This is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. Thanks for joining us, I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: John, one of the most famous versus, uh, in the bible, in the New Testament book of Philippians is, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” And it’s right there in Philippians 4:13. It’s often used as that motivational mantra-

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … to, uh, you know, make you climb the mountain or do better, whatever it might be. Uh, but when the Apostle Paul wrote that, “I can do all things,” he was really, uh, meaning it for the difficult things. Uh, you know, the content, if you look at it, is about suffering. So even in suffering, as Paul was expressing, uh, was his singular goal to honor the Lord in that suffering-

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … and to glorify God.

John: Yeah.

Jim: And I don’t know about you, but that’s not always my initial reaction (laughs).

John: (laughs)

Jim: I’d rather say, “Yeah, Lord, help me to attain this mountain-

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … or to do better on Friday night football.” Right? I can remember in high school praying that. Uh, but I wonder, uh, what each of you listeners and viewers on YouTube, what you would respond to that. How does that passage speak to your heart? Is it one to attain a higher level, or to get through a really difficult situation? And our guest today has dealt with adversity. I’m so looking forward to this discussion with Daniel Ritchie and, uh, his expression. And he has lived an amazing life, and you’ll learn more in a moment.

John: Yeah, as I mentioned earlier, Daniel Ritchie is with us. He’s a speaker and author, and lives in North Carolina with his wife, Heather, and their two children. Daniel’s book is titled My Affliction for His Glory: Living Out Your Identity in Christ. And that’s, uh, the foundation for our conversation today. Get your copy at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Daniel, welcome to Focus on the Family.

Daniel: Hey, guys. Thanks so much for having me.

Jim: I’m so looking for to it, really. Uh, just reading through the book, and, uh, the prep that was done, uh, man, what a life story you have. And, you know, you’re used to sharing it as a speaker. I’m gonna try to help the listener and just lead through this amazing story. And I know our listens are going to resonate with your heart. Um, first, I guess, tell us what it’s like to navigate every day with no arms.

Daniel: Yeah, I mean, it, it, it’s certainly complicated. You know, the, the world we live in is may by people with arms, for people with arms.

Jim: Yeah.

Daniel: And so, there’s, there’s a lot of things. I mean, opening a door is, like, a multi-step process for me, you know, using a cell phone, dri-… You know, it’s like there, there’s ways around it, but it’s just, it’s a little bit, bit more complicated.

Jim: Right, but you know what’s amazing just watching you, uh, as we started getting going here, y- you use your feet amazingly well, almost as a person would use their hands.

Daniel: Yeah, yeah.

Jim: And that is, uh… I mean, right there is a triumph-

Daniel: Yeah.

Jim: … for you, right?

Daniel: Oh, yeah. I mean, at, at this point, for it to, I mean, literally be second nature.

Jim: Yeah.

Daniel: And it’s like even, even for me to get up some mornings, and it’s like I’ll look in the mirror when I’m waking up and be like, “Oh, yeah. I don’t have arms.” You know? It’s like, I, I think one of the most apparent things about me. Sometimes I just forget, because this is just, this is all I’ve ever known.

Jim: Let’s take everybody back to your birthday, Literally, your birth day-

Daniel: Yeah.

Jim: … and what took place in the delivery room. Your mom, dad, doctors there, the nurses, they’re expecting a, you know, a fully healthy child, right?

Daniel: Yeah.

Jim: There was no diag- pre-diagnosis.

Daniel: No, no. I, I mean and the, my disability wasn’t on their radar at all, even though, you know, mom had two ultrasounds, healthy pregnancy.

Jim: They just didn’t catch it.

Daniel: No, not at all. And, and so no, nobody knew until the doctor’s holding me in the delivery room. And then in that moment, not only am I born without arms, but I was born not breathing or moving. And so the, the doctor just very quickly showed me to my dad so dad could see I didn’t have arms. And then he asked my dad, “Do you just want us to let him go?” And so I think it’s like the, the double, the double-edge shock of the moment, that it’s like, “Okay, we, we have a boy that, that is literally born dead, and he’s born without arms.” A- and so I me- I mean, I’m sure for my parents, it’s such an overwhelming moment.

Jim: Yeah, before we get to your dad’s response, which is awesome-

Daniel: Yeah.

Jim: … and I wanna make sure people hear that, that’s not an uncommon story. I have many friends that have had, uh, children born with spina bifida, down syndrome, whatever it might be. And these doctors do exactly that.

Daniel: Yup.

Jim: It’s kind of like what they’re learning to say in med school.

Daniel: Mm-hmm.

Jim: “Would you like to let your child die?”

Daniel: 100 percent.

Jim: And I mean, it, not every parent is saying, “No.”

Daniel: Yeah, yeah.

Jim: But what did your dad say?

Daniel: No, my, my dad just looked at the doctor and said, “That’s my son, and you need to do whatever it is that you can do to try to bring him back.”

John: Hm.

Jim: That’s awesome.

Daniel: I know, man. I mean, and it, and it’s like without pause, without hesitation. I mean, it was just, it was just the response that I think just came out of his core.

Jim: Um, you faced some frustrating moments, uh, learning how to do the everyday task that we’re watching it right here in the studio do with your feet. Uh, what was that like as a child growing up-

Daniel: Yeah.

Jim: … uh, just to function as best as possible without arms?

Daniel: Yeah, I think, I think the hardest part for me is, you know, just, just for us as humans, we’re visual learners. And so I didn’t have, I didn’t have a model. You know, I di- I didn’t have someone like I could see and repeat. Um, and, uh, and, and so a lot of, a lot of my formative years just learning how to either write or eat or, you know, just do daily tasks, it was like I would watch my parents and see the end result, and then I would try just through trial and error to find my, my path toward that final destination. And so there was a lot of failures.

Jim: Yeah, I can, uh… Moving forward through childhood where the innocence is there, and you’re trying to learn how to do things, and you got the protective covering of your parents, I’m sure there were some things in elementary school that made it tough. But like everybody, you get to junior high.

Daniel: Shew

Jim: I mean, I can’t-

Daniel: Yeah.

Jim: … imagine what you went through. Describe some of that for us.

Daniel: Yeah, I, I mean, it ran the range from, uh, uh, you know, I think what would think of as, as stereotypical middle school bullying, you know, name calling, you know, rough housing, stuff like that. But then I, I think, too, is I got into, to middle school, I started to become aware, I think, of just the, the greater public. ‘Cause it was like, for me everywhere I go, like, my two empty sleeves, it j- it just draws attention.

Jim: Sure.

Daniel: An so, so going out in public, it’s lots of stares, its rude comments, it’s, you know, ev- even as a kid, I mean, there were multiple times we were, we were, like, tossed out of restaurants because I’m sitting there eating with my feet, you know, that-

Jim: Seriously?

Daniel: Yeah. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.

Jim: What do they… I mean, my goodness.

Daniel: I, I think it’s just ’cause, you know, other people are complaining like, “Oh, that’s gross. You know, can you, you know, get rid of that, get rid of that kid?” And, I mean, that, that was just-

Jim: And they would, do it?

Daniel: Yeah. Oh, 100 percent.

Jim: I wish I were in that restaurant.

Daniel: I mean, there was… I think in, in middle school, that was the realization for me that it was like I was different, but it was like a, a bad different, for sure.

Jim: Hm. Man, how did you process that? I mean, I, again, just, the, the way people treated you. The evil nature of it.

Daniel: Yeah.

Jim: I mean, it’s really the sin nature of our flesh-

Daniel: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … for people to do that, to be ugly towards you because you have this handicap.

Daniel: Yeah.

Jim: I mean, my goodness, it’s totally out of your control. It’s not like you choose this.

Daniel: I, I mean, it, especially in, in my teens, early teens, uh, uh, it really, I mean, it was a downward spiral, uh, for sure. Um, I think just insecurity with myself, I started to hate other people, you know, ’cause n- meeting new people for me was just, “All right, another person who’s gonna judge me,”-

Jim: Yeah.

Daniel: … or, or, you know, um-

Jim: I can’t imagine how bad.

Daniel: Yeah. And, and then, two, it’s like, I think very comparatively. Even, even though I was raised in church, I was, I was keeping score of God’s love and grace towards me on my terms. And so what I started to do, I think, was, “All right. God, God loves you guys. Like, you know, he, he gave you 10 fingers, two arms, but-”

Jim: ‘Cause you’re normal.

Daniel: Right, right.

Jim: Wow.

Daniel: And “So why d- why doesn’t God love me like he loves you?”

Jim: Right.

Daniel: And, and so even in that, like, I r- I really started to question, like, the love and grace of God towards me just because of my circumstances.

Jim: Hey, what a journey.

Daniel: Mm-hmm.

Jim: I mean, when we talk about that Philippians verse, um, you know, “I, I can do all things,” w- except tie my shoe.

Daniel: Yeah, yeah.

Jim: I mean, how did you process that?

Daniel: Yeah. I, I mean, before I trusted in Christ… Like, I came to Christ at 15. Before I trusted in Christ, it was just kind of like there wasn’t any sort of foundation of hope or strength or anything, but I, but I think in those days and months, you know, after trusting in Christ as my everything-

Jim: Yeah.

Daniel: … I, I mean that, that verse took a full, I think, just full-colored life in, in, in-

Jim: Yeah.

Daniel: … what I was doing.

John: Well, this is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. Thanks for joining us today. Our guest is Daniel Ritchie. He, uh, is, as you can tell, an incredible human being. He’s written this book, My Affliction for His Glory: Living Out Your Identity in Christ, and we’ll encourage you to request your copy when you call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY, or stop by focusonthetamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: I, I, I’ve got to get off the soap box here, ’cause that sermonizing’s coming through.

Daniel: (laughs)

Jim: So I apologize to the people. Don’t write, don’t send us an email. I get it.

John: This is a passion.

Jim: I’m gonna, I’m gonna lower the flame now, but-

Daniel: No, bring it. Bring it on, man. Bring it on.

Jim: … let’s get to that point where, okay, now you’re going, “Okay, Lord. I’m gonna give you a chance. Help me to,” what? Fill in the blank. Help me to love people more? What was the trigger for you to say, “All right, I’m gonna trust God?”

Daniel: Yeah, yeah. I think it was, um… So a buddy of mine in school, he invites me to a, a youth group dodge ball lock-in.

Jim: It’s always those buddies.

Daniel: Oh, man. Yeah, yeah.

Jim: (laughs)

Daniel: And, and, and so, uh, at this-

John: Is this, this is the overnight lock in kind of thing, right?

Daniel: Oh, man. Yeah, and a- armless people are garbage at dodge ball. And so it’s like I get, uh, you know, I get beaten to death, uh, for, for the first four hours of the night.

Jim: (laughs) Oh, my gosh.

Daniel: And, um, and then the youth pastor gets up, talks about God’s love, quick little devotion, night, night keeps going, guys keep playing dodge ball, and I sit out. I’m, I’m done. And this youth pastor comes over, and, and he starts to talk to me. And I think he very quickly picked up, I think, just on my insecurity, my hurt.

Jim: Oh, my goodness. Yeah.

Daniel: And, um, and, and as he starts to talk to me, I’m sitting here going, “You know, man, you just talked to me about the love of God, and I don’t see any of that love and grace in my life at all.” And then he just very faithfully for probably the next hour, like, walks me through just the biblical picture of God’s grace towards me, not only in, like, that he very purposefully made me in my mother’s womb like I am. I w- I wasn’t a mutation, I wasn’t an accident. But then for him to walk me through the Gospel, too, that, like, what, what God does is that even though I questioned his love for me, that he sends his son to live the perfect life I couldn’t live, to die the death that I should die, God raises him to life to show his power over both sin and death, and to those who trust in him, he adopts you into the family of God, and he sends you out on the mission of God. And I think for me to, at that point, to see the Gospel in that lens, and, and for me to not keep score of God’s grace towards me on my terms, but on his-

Jim: Hmm. Yeah.

Daniel: … man, that, that changed everything. That, that was the night I, yeah, trusted and rested in Christ as my King, and-

Jim: Daniel, I, uh, that’s a, an amazing statement that you’re making, and I don’t want to go past it too quickly. When you talk about that obstacle in front of you to say, “Okay, I believe God made me exactly how he wanted to make me.”

Daniel: Hmm, yeah.

Jim: And again, I’m, I’m sitting, thinking of people that hold on to resentment-

Daniel: Yeah.

Jim: … for something they blame God for-

Daniel: Yeah.

Jim: … for that bad marriage, for that prodigal son-

Daniel: Yup.

Jim: … who has walked away. Ha- I mean, how do you do that? How do you go, “Okay, Lord. I see this mountain in front of me, but I’m gonna knock it down now and just walk over it, ’cause-

Daniel: Yeah.

Jim: … I know your purposes are bigger than my understanding.”

Daniel: And I think that was the, you know, that was the path moving forward, you know, from that point. It’s like even though I had the foundation of, “Okay, Jesus is my everything,” at age 15, well, there’s still the big honking question of, “Okay, God. Why? Why, why no arms of all the things on the planet?” And I, and I really, I struggles in- underneath the weight of that, I think, for the next probably four, five years.

Jim: Yeah, which is normal.

Daniel: Yeah, yeah.

Jim: Yeah.

Daniel: But, but I, I think as, as I got into my late teens, early 20s, the Apostle Paul in II Corinthians one, he, he says, “God comforts us in our affliction so we can grant that same comfort to others in their time of need.” And, and what I started to realize for me is like, I have this very visible affliction, this very visible trial, but I also have a, a, a very clear opportunity to talk about this is how God, in the midst of my brokenness, gave me comfort, and this is how He can grant it to you.

Jim: Yeah.

Daniel: So it’s like God, God, in my armless-ness by his design has given me, I think, one of, my, my single greatest, I think, Gospel opportunity just, just in everyday life to share.

Jim: Well, that’s the clarity I was talking about.

Daniel: Yeah.

Jim: Lining up those dots-

Daniel: Yeah.

Jim: … ’cause it’s very obvious.

Daniel: Yeah.

Jim: I mean, and we all go, “Oh, wow.”

Daniel: Hmm.

Jim: And then when you start sharing what God has done for you, we’re scratching our head thinking-

Daniel: Right.

Jim: … “How does this guy smile? –

Daniel: Yeah.

Jim: … How does he have joy-

Daniel: Yeah.

Jim: … born with no arms? Yeah, John chapter nine was another big verse. I think we can all see how that, y- how you would feel relatable to that.

Daniel: Yeah.

Jim: Describe John 9. What is it talking about, and how did it speak to your heart?

Daniel: So Jesus and the disciples, they’re, you know, they’re doing their ministry thing. They’re going town to town, and as they pass by, they see a guy that was born blind. And the disciples ask Jesus, “Rabbi, who sinned?” Like, who messed up? He walks over to this man, and he says, “Listen, nobody sinned. I made him this way, so that the works of God can be displayed in his life,” and then he goes on to, he, he spits on the ground, he, he makes mud, wipes it in the man’s eyes. He goes and washes in the pool, and he can see. But I think, I think very clearly to see, it’s like Jesus didn’t misspeak when he said, “Not that I’m gonna heal him to show the works of God,” but he said, “I made him blind. Like, I, I formed and fashioned him with-

Jim: For his glory.

Daniel: … with a disability to show the world more of me.” And I, and I think just that singularity to see, I, I mean, a- across the whole of scripture to know that in his situation and my situation, God didn’t error. He, he fashioned me to show the world more of him.

Jim: Yeah.

Daniel: And that it’s just like for, for me to faithfully walk in that, ev- even if it’s difficult.

Jim: Wow. This is so rich and so good. I’m gonna get to some of the stories in the book, ’cause again, they, they illustrate your life and what you have stood for-

Daniel: Yeah.

Jim: … and how God has worked in your life. There’s a story in there about being at, at McDonald’s, which I love.

Daniel: (laughs)

Jim: Describe what was going on, what were you there to do other than get a, a meal? (laughs)

Daniel: Yeah, yeah.

Jim: But, and then how did people respond to you?

Daniel: Yeah, I mean, it was, it was one of those deals. Uh, I, I was a student pastor at the time, so I, I was prepping a, a sermon to preach at a friend’s church ab- about being on mission. And, um, and so I’m walking in, and I walk beside a, uh, there’s a Greensboro of… I’m, I’m, at the time, I was in Greensboro, North Carolina, and so there’s a Greensboro city cop walking in with me. And I actually, I open the door for him and held it open for him.

Jim: Oh, my.

Daniel: He’s like, “What’s this armless guy doing?”

John: That’s amazing.

Daniel: And so, you know, we, so we both go up, we order. And, um, and I, and as I was getting ready to pay, I keep my debit card in my shoe, and so I whipped my debit card out kinda quick out of my shoe and swiped it through the credit card reader, and he literally, he, he put his hand on, on his side arm, just, I think, out of reflex like, “What’s going on?” And, uh, and he looks over at me, and I was like, “I’m unarmed. Don’t shoot.” You know?

Jim: (laughs)

Daniel: And he’s like, “Ha, ha, ha, ha.” You know, it’s like we kind of, we kind of had this, like, awkward moment, like, “Hey, you almost killed me, but I’m okay with that.” You know, uh-

Jim: (laughs) Yeah, right. I’m unarmed.

Daniel: And, uh, and, uh, and so I, I go outside, and I st- I start eating my biscuit and my hash browns, and he comes out to me. And so we start to talk. And then come to find out, he, he had a son with autism.

Jim: Ah.

Daniel: And, and so he, he wanted to know. He’s like, “How did you get to where you are with this sort of joy, with this sort of hope?” And I get to share the, the Gospel with this man, you know, right on the, the patio of McDonald’s. But then it was wild. Like, over the next two hours, it was like I go back in to refill my iced coffee, I get talking to a mother and a daughter, um, who’s same deal. They’re watching me do stuff with my feet, and they’re like, “Why are you so happy?” And I get to share the Gospel with them. And there’s, you know, landscapers, like, wo- working on the flower beds out, out there at McDonald’s, and much the same. They’re watching me eat a biscuit with my toes, um, and, and they want to know the story, they want to know the hope. There’s, there’s three friends that end up, like, sitting gout on the patio. They want to know the sa-… You know, and it’s just like in, in the next few hours, it’s like as I’m prepping for a sermon to be on mission, God’s letting me know, like, for us as believers, our mission doesn’t necessarily have to, have to happen under the roof of a church. Our, our mission happens in a McDonald’s, it happens on our community ball fields, it, it, it happens when we just, when we interact with so many people in our lives. And I, and I think for, for me to realize in that moment my opportunity to speak to hope, more often than not, it comes away from a stage. It, it c- it comes when I just get to look a person in the eyes and, and tell people about how, how Jesus has taken what the world thinks is a broken life, and he’s using it for His glory.

Jim: Oh, without a doubt. When you said that, I mean, I’m thinking most of the mission efforts should be outside the walls of the church, right?

Daniel: Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

Jim: We go there to be filled up so we can take him to the community-

Daniel: Hmm. Amen.

Jim: … ideally.

Daniel: Yeah.

Jim: You know? Um, let me ask you, uh, because you sound and, and really are buoyant in the spirit. And I can see it. We both are seeing your smile-

John: Mm-hmm. Yeah, it comes right through.

Jim: … and all, but I’ve got to think at times, there’s still some discouragement.

Daniel: Oh, man.

Jim: That would make you normal and human.

Daniel: Yeah, yeah.

Jim: (laughs) And I think people that are going, “Wow, I just don’t know that I could live like Daniel, even with my little thing,” whatever it might be, fill in the blank.

Daniel: Yeah.

Jim: How do you, how do you face discouragement maybe with Heather, your wife? How do you get through those moments where, you know, it, you are pulled down a little bit?

Daniel: Yeah. I, I mean, you know, ’cause again, it’s like even though I have my identity and purpose in Christ, like you’re saying, I mean, there’s still some days where it’s like I wish it was different. You know, I, I wish my, my kids didn’t have to have a, an armless dad with a, with a fishbowl life. Like, I, you know… But I think, too, it’s just like, you know, you, you, you see Paul over and over, like, he, he just preaches grace, I think, both to himself and, and to the church. You know, it, it’s like, was it I Corinthians 15, he says, “It’s the Gospel in which we’re saved, but it’s the Gospel in which we stand.” And, you know, Paul even goes on to say, “It’s, it’s by the grace of God that I am what I am.” And so I, I think as much as our hurts and our afflictions and our insecurities become the most apparent part of our life at times when, when we’re walking through that, I think it’s to be faithful to preach the grace of God, like, even, even if it’s like in the picture of the Gospel, in the picture of how he’s made us, but even in, in, like, that James 1 picture that every good and perfect gift comes from him. And, and I think to preach that grace to ourselves, that it’s the, you know what, by God’s grace, I’ve, I’ve woken up this morning. By God’s grace, like, I, i get to enjoy, uh, you know, whatever relationships that I have, or, or just I, I get to enjoy a pretty sunrise, sunset. I mean, just, just for us to, as, as tangibly as we can, to look at the grace of God in our life and to celebrate it.

Jim: I so appreciate that, because I think we do complicate our lives, and we don’t notice-

John: Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Jim: … those little blessings every day.

Daniel: Hmm, yeah.

Jim: And if you’re in a place of depression or anxiety, just start with small steps, thanking the Lord for those things you can hang onto.

Daniel: Yeah.

Jim: Uh, there was a story that you had about being at a Starbucks, and a business guy, again, I think, retails your action, man. (laughs)

Daniel: Uh, appa- appa- apparently, I need, I need a, I need a sermon prep of with, with coffee more, I think. So-

Jim: No kidding. So here you are at the Starbucks. What is, what happened with this business guy?

Daniel: Yeah, so, I mean, same deal. I’m sermon prepping, got my headphones on, ’cause you know, Starbucks can be a little noisy. And, um, and I’m always aware people stare at me a lot in public, and so I clea-… This guy right beside me, he’s staring at me a lot. Like, he, his eyes keep cutting over, and, um, and-

Jim: He’s intrigued.

Daniel: Yeah. And, and so, uh, you know, for me, it’s like I understand. You’re doing exactly s-… Armless people don’t grow on trees, you know?

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Daniel: Like, and, and so I, I understand. Um, and, uh, and as he gets ready to leave, like, he gets up, and it’s like he sits down. It was like a Starbucks, like, cardboard coffee sleeve. He just put it on my table, and he walked out. And at first, I was like, “What a jerk. I don’t want to throw away your trash.

Jim: (laughs)

John: (laughs)

Daniel: Like, man. Like, what are you doing?”

Jim: Good, I’m glad for that normal response.

Daniel: Yeah, yeah.

Jim: That’s what I would have thought.

Daniel: I had, um, and so, I’m like, I’m kinda in a huff, and I, and I go to pick it up, and he had, like, split the coffee sleeve open, and he wrote a note on the inside of the coffee sleeve. And he’s just like, “Brother, I’m, I’m having a really hard time, um, in my life.” Uh, he was in a, a bad family situation with his brother, but he was like, “Just watching you today encouraged me. And thank you for being willing to just be you.”

John: Hmm.

Daniel: And, and I mean, it’s like I didn’t even talk to this dude, but, you know, just to be, just to be present in, in some way, God used, I think, to encourage this guy.

Jim: You know, again, and what’s so profound about that, and I don’t want us to miss it is the Lord using you in a profound way without words-

Daniel: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … ’cause it’s so obvious.

Daniel: Yeah, yeah.

Jim: You have overcome this, and it ministers to people’s hearts, because we’re in a pity party about something that is so much less significant.

Daniel: Yeah, yeah.

Jim: But when we see you and what you’ve got to overcome, that’s powerful. Um, you mentioned in the book that God had, and obviously is, uh, laying out this amazing plan for your life. And he has a plan for every person. I think that’s the point.

Daniel: Yeah.

Jim: You don’t have to be armless to serve the Lord (laughs).

Daniel: Right, right.

Jim: Sounds funny even saying that.

Daniel: Yeah.

Jim: But what does the bible reveal about God’s plan for every believer?

Daniel: I mean, again, you know, for us to realize, it’s like God’s made us to display him and his glory, you know, and, and that God did not make a mistake in how He made us, God did not make a mistake in, in redeeming us.

Jim: Yeah.

Daniel: And, and so I think in view of that, it’s like we can leverage what we have to show the world more of Him. And it might not be, you’re not, you, you might not preach a sermon, you might not lead on the worship team in your church, you might not even be a small group leader, but it’s like, I mean, Jesus said, “It’s like the, the mark of following me is, is that you love one another.

Jim: Yeah.

Daniel: That’s how people know you are my disciples.” And, and so I think it’s, it’s incumbent on us to, to very openly in this bombastic culture that we live in, w-… I think one of the most world-altering things that we can do is to love people well, even if they don’t love us well. And that’s e- even in small steps, like that, that’s how we change the world, and that as we love others, it affords us the opportunity to speak of the one-

Jim: Yeah.

Daniel: … of why we love. And, and so I, I, I th- I think for us to just allow our lives to open the door to, to scatter the seeds of the Gospel into people’s lives.

Jim: Yeah. And I th-… You know, for me, when I look at you and, and the little time that we’ve gotten to know each other here, I’m looking forward to hanging out more together.

Daniel: Oh, no doubt.

Jim: But the, the, the scripture that comes to my mind for you is in Nehemiah where it says, “The joy of the Lord is your strength,” and it is what ministers to people around you. I can see it. It’s infectious, and it’s actually quite an admonition to the rest of us. Hey, if I can be joyful with what I’m carrying-

Daniel: Yeah.

Jim: … why can’t you?

Daniel: Yeah.

Jim: And I, man, I would turn to the listeners and say that. Let that be a good challenge to all of us. You know, if Daniel can do this, if he can minister in a McDonald’s and a, let’s go through all the retail, Starbucks and everything else, what can we do?

Daniel: Right.

Jim: How can we show the joy of the Lord, so people are attracted to what we have? Isn’t that the way it should be?

Daniel: Oh, absolutely. Y-

Jim: Can I ask you right at the end here, can you pray for us to have that?

Daniel: Yes. Yes, and-

Jim: And and pray for us in general to be less worldly and more spiritual, and more embedded in God’s truth.

Daniel: Absolutely.

Jim: Yeah.

Daniel: Absolutely. Let’s pray. God, um, we do thank you so incredibly much. I, I think both for your kindness, in, in how you formed and fashioned us both in your grace, uh, in sending your son, uh, to be our, our redeeming sacrifice. And God, I, I pray in view of all of that, that, that, Father, as, as we live out our days, um, that, Father, we would be as, as Jesus implores us in John 15, that we would just simply abide, that we would just simply trust our lives into your hands knowing that, that by that, our joy, our hope, our strength, our everything, God, flows from you. And a- and a- and apart from you, we, we can do nothing. And, and so God, I pray that maybe for some of us today, the most faithful thing we can do is to realize that God, I don’t have this, but you do. God, help us to trust when it hurts, help us to trust when we don’t know what’s next. God, help us to trust and celebrate you in, in, in times of grace and goodness. Father, I pray that whatever the case is, that we would find out everything in you, that we would be content, um, that we would live, that we would trust all in view of just your kingship, of your grace, of your call on our lives. Father, we love you and we thank you. It’s in Jesus’s name we pray. Amen

Jim: Amen.

John: Amen.

Jim: Amen, and for those that don’t know it, amen means I’m in agreement. (laughs)

Daniel: (laughs) Yeah, yeah. That’s right.

Jim: So, that’s important. Daniel, this has been so good.

Daniel: Yes, sir.

Jim: Thank you for being with us-

Daniel: Yes, sir. Thank you.

Jim: … and for showing us what it means to have the joy of the Lord. This is awesome. And I would just say to the listeners and to those watching on YouTube, man, if this speaks to your heart, or you know somebody who’s not doing well, especially for the believers who are struggling, man, get a copy of this. Uh, we can get you the download, uh, get the app for the smartphone, uh, whatever you need to do, and share it with someone in your life, or more than one person that might need it. That’s a good way to do ministry. You can also get a copy of Daniel’s great book here at Focus on the Family, My Affliction for His Glory. Uh, wow. That’s a statement. And you’ve heard why, and, uh, I would encourage you to get ahold of us, and get a copy. And if you can make a gift of any amount, especially if you can become a monthly pledger to Focus, be part of the ministry with us. Do ministry with us. Uh, we’ll send you a copy of Daniel’s book as our way of saying thank you for participating.

John: Give us a call to find out more about Daniel’s book, and if you can donate, that’d be wonderful. Our number is 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY, or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. And let me remind you that Focus on the Family is here for you. If you’re struggling in your marriage, or you’re facing a challenge in your parenting and you feel stuck, contact us. Our team of Christian counselors will listen to you, they’ll pray with you, and they’ll point you on the path toward healing. Again, we’re just a phone call away, and it’s 800-232-6459, or visit focusonthefamly.com/broadcast. Next time on Focus on the Family, the secret to feeling in love with your spouse again.

Preview:

Rhonda Stoppe: Just do it. Just wake up every day and think on whatever’s good, right, honorable, and praiseworthy about your spouse. And then asking your s- your, the Lord, “Give me the love for him, rekindle those things. Remind me of those things.”

End of Preview

Today's Guests

book cover for my affliction for his glory by daniel ritche

My Affliction for His Glory: Living Out Your Identity in Christ

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