At the turn of the 20th century, a pioneering psychologist named Alfred Adler proposed what has been called the counterintuitive theory of compensation. Adler believed that perceived disadvantages often proved to be disguised advantages because they force us to develop attitudes and abilities that would have otherwise never been discovered or developed without them.
Adler pointed out that 70 percent of all the art students that he studied had optical anomalies. He observed that some of history’s greatest composers, Mozart and Beethoven among them, had degenerative traces in their ears. These observations and array of others led him to the conclusion that our apparent disadvantages may, in fact, become our greatest advantages enabling us to develop exceptional abilities in otherwise overlooked areas that will contribute greatly to our success later.
When was the last time you praised God for your struggles and disadvantages? Think of David’s life and death contest with the giant Goliath. David was seemingly at a tremendous disadvantage. He wasn’t even a soldier and the clock was ticking. David’s mind was racing. Like a flash flood, memories from his past experiences as a shepherd cascaded into his consciousness. He remembered being alone with the sheep, he could recall the angle of the sun, the feel of the light breeze, the sound of a twig snapping, the rush of a wild beast of prey and his father’s sheep suddenly being attacked by the ferocious, hungry lion. David recalled the rush of adrenaline as it pumped through his veins and how with blinding fast speed he had inserted the stone into the sling, calmed his nerves, took careful aim at the lion’s forehead and brought him down before he could maul the sheep. He had stunned him just long enough for David to be able to finish him off with his bare hands. There had been no one else there to look to for help. He was alone (though God was with him). He had to do it himself or it wouldn’t get done. What a great disadvantage to be a young man and all alone in a situation like that with everything depending on you.
Then David’s conscious thoughts came back to the task that he had volunteered for with this animal-like monster called Goliath. His previous experiences now gave him a holy boldness and confidence in God and in the skill God had developed in him to protect the sheep from predators during those long, lonely days. What had appeared to be a disadvantage then proved to be his greatest advantage now. Though, once again, he stood alone and could look to no one else for help (except His God). He would get to within a few paces of this new, wild animal and he would use the sling to bring him down and kill him just as he had done so with the lion. After all, you don’t fight a giant on the giant’s terms you reframe the situation to your own advantage. He did and the rest is history.
What ability or skill or attitude is God developing in you right now in that struggling situation that you have been thinking of as a decided disadvantage? Maybe you need to look at the other side of your problems. This may just be the preparation you need for some future opportunity. Praise God for it, learn from it, and be ready for the opportunity to use it for God’s glory.