My dad was born left-handed, or cack-handed as they say in his native England. In the US he’d probably be called a southpaw. I did not inherit that particular gene or trait. I read that about 10% of the population is left-handed, and my dad was in good company with Prince William, heir to the British throne; Bill Gates of Microsoft; Babe Ruth of baseball fame; and Barack Obama, ex-President of the US and one of many left-handed presidents. One study has shown that left-handers as a group have produced an “above-average quota of high achievers.”
Unfortunately, in my dad’s day, the schools insisted on forcing left-handed students to learn to write with the right hand, attempting to transfer the dominance to the right to suit machinery that needed right-handed operators! We have all heard the joke of the apprentice being sent to get a left-handed screwdriver and coming back empty-handed. So my dad became truly ambidextrous and a good artist as well.
The Bible records some notable left-handers, and in Judges 20:16 we read: “Among all these were 700 chosen men who were left-handed; every one could sling a stone at a hair and not miss” (ESV). “In this army there were seven hundred left-handed experts who could sling a rock at a target the size of a hair and hit it every time“ (CEV).
By the way, slinging a pebble can be effective up to 200 yards (183 metres), so they were not really snipers as we would think of them today but with the same task. No doubt they kept company together, if only to eat at the same table and not bump elbows! So I would say that the Left-Handers Club was a tad slow in announcing an International Left-Handers Day in 1992!
Judges 3:15 mentions Ehud, a left-handed man (sermon title: “How Lefty Killed Hefty!”; read 3:15-30). And I Chronicles 12:2 tells of ambidextrous men who were both archers and slingers, also of the tribe of Benjamin.
The interesting truth in the Judges 20:16 reference is that the word “left-handed” there means “lame, or bound, in his right hand” (E.W. Bullinger). So these soldiers from the tribe of Benjamin were not merely natural lefties, but were disabled or handicapped in some way in their right hands. Yet they conquered their disability by training and became exceptional lefties whom we are still talking about milleniums later!
We have all at some time or another felt handicapped in what we can do. Perhaps it was a lack of money or an opportunity to go to college or university, or we were too young for promotion or had the wrong color of skin. But we can see now by this example that it is what we do when we are vulnerable that counts! “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; (28) God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are” (I Corinthians 1:27-28).
“Uncle Bud” Robinson, a holiness evangelist, was a bad stutterer and couldn’t read or write when he was converted at age 20 and called to preach. But he wrote over 10 books and hundreds of weekly columns in Christian magazines, and preached an average of 500 sermons a year in 72 denominations over a period of 61 years.
He prayed this prayer every day, “Oh Lord, …help me to sign the contract to fight the devil as long as I’ve got a fist, and bite him as long as I have a tooth, then gum him till I die. All this I ask for Christ’s sake. Amen.”
So how do we handle handicaps or disabilities? First, realize that we all have greater resources and adaptability than we ordinarily use. That’s just the way we are wired. These 700 men were trained to get more out of their left hand than they probably did previously from their right hand. An ordinary soldier is trained to fire his gun at the torso of the enemy; a sniper is trained to make a hole between the eyebrows. So take a leap of faith and do something you previously thought you couldn’t. And do it again and again.
Even more than the greater natural resources, remember we have Christ within us and we are in Him. When we have faith in what God says about us, “this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith” (I John 5:4).
“Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda… One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, ‘Do you want to be healed?’ The sick man answered him, ‘Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Get up, take up your bed, and walk.’ And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked” (John 5:2,5-9).
The man could not get up, but that’s what Jesus told him to do. The man didn’t say, “Don’t be stupid! I haven’t gotten up for 38 years!” Instead, he got up, picked up his bed and walked away. Faith is often doing what you can’t do!
Second, release your handicap to your loving Father. “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27). Get quiet and be ready to receive His guidance. He wants only the best for you, and if necessary He will guide you to give your five loaves and two fishes to feed multitudes or something equally unusual! “In my opinion whatever we may have to go through now is less than nothing compared with the magnificent future God has planned for us” (Romans 8:18 Phillips).
So thank God for the natural lefties among us and encourage the lefties who are “lame of the right hand” to look to God for the glorious future He has planned for them.