For you, O LORD, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy. (Psalms 92:4 NRSV)
Let me tell you about Robert. Robert used to stand before crowds and say, "I have everything I need for joy!" Robert was an unlikely person to make such a claim. His hands were twisted and his feet were useless. He couldn't bathe himself or feed himself. His shirts were held together by strips of Velcro. Robert had cerebral palsy. But his disease didn't keep him from graduating from high school or Abilene Christian University with a degree in Latin. Cerebral palsy didn't keep him from teaching at a junior college or from venturing overseas on five mission trips.

Robert moved to Lisbon, Portugal in 1972. He was all alone there. He rented a hotel room and began studying Portuguese. He found a restaurant owner who would feed him and a tutor to help him speak the language.

Before too long Robert stationed himself in a park, where he gave persons tracts telling of God's love for all people. Within six years he led seventy people to Christ, one of whom became his wife, Rosa.

When Robert spoke before crowds he was carried in his wheelchair to the stage. Once in place someone placed a Bible on his lap. With stiff fingers he forced open the pages. People in the audience could be seen wiping tears of admiration from their faces. Robert could have asked for sympathy or even pity, but he did just the opposite. He held his bent hand up in the air and boasted, "I have everything I need for joy." His shirts were held together by Velcro, but his life was held together by a joy in Christ.

Lord Jesus, help me to know your joy no matter my circumstances. Amen.

Ron Newhouse

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