Please allow me to serve notice of a publishing event: Daniel Ritchie’s My Affliction for His Glory. I’ve known Daniel for almost twenty years now and have watched him wrestle with, and ultimately embrace, a unique form of adversity: Daniel was born without arms.
Through a saving encounter with Christ, he realized that with worth and purpose is found in Christ. With Christ as his ultimate treasure, Daniel was liberated from the enslavement caused by comparing and contrasting himself with other people.
I’ve known Daniel’s story for years. And now, through this wonderful book, you can know it also, and draw upon it to help you truly find your identity in Christ and faithfully embrace any challenges of afflictions that come your way.
For that reason, I asked Daniel to answer a few questions about his book, focusing especially on its application to the everyday Christian life, finding our identity in Christ, and embracing God’s plan for us even when it involves affliction.
Here is our conversation:
Why did you write the book?
I never thought of myself as an author, but I have known for a long time that God had given me a unique story to tell with me being born without arms. Writing My Affliction For His Glory just seemed to be the best vehicle to share that story with the world. My prayer is that God will use this book to encourage believers but to also show people who don’t trust Christ as Lord that He gives hope and purpose to those who trust in Him – even those who feel broken and worthless.
There’s just so many things that God has done in my life that I could never share in a single sermon and this book allows me to get into some more details. God has shown Himself in both big ways and small ways in my life and I wanted to use this book as an opportunity to speak to God’s vast work.
You talk a lot about finding your identity in Christ in your book. What does that practically mean?
Practically speaking, I found my worth in the early part of my life from what people said about me. But that caused me to ride an emotional roller coaster of feeling as valuable as the last compliment or insult that I received.
As I rooted my life in Christ, I started to focus less on the words of men to define my worth and to look to God’s words. My perception on my own worth was put on a rock solid foundation knowing that I was an adopted son of God. His love and purpose for me was never going to change even when the circumstances of my life would. Resting in what He says about me keeps me from riding the roller coaster of shame and fear.
I’ve known you for a while – but for those reading this – what is life like without arms?
It is fun for sure. I get to go barefoot everywhere and I can put my feet on the dinner table and nobody says a word.
Beyond the little perks, my life isn’t different than everyone else’s. I just use my feet to do the work that most people do with their hands. From getting kids lunches ready in the morning to mowing the lawn – I live a life similar to most people. Except that I get to do all those things with my feet. 😊
What has your hardship and affliction taught you over all these years?
That God is faithful even when circumstances are hard. I often think back to the words of Paul in Philippians 4 where he found His total strength and contentment in Christ regardless of the circumstances around us. In seasons of joy, God is good. In seasons of want and hurt, God is still good.
My circumstances do not change the character of God but they do afford me the chance to peer more deeply into who He is. In my trials, I have been able to seen the sustaining grace of God in my life. Even though I live everyday with a disability, I have an unshakable joy because my hope and treasure is in Christ and not in my day to day success.
God has helped me to see His strength in my life because of my weakness. It allows me to see and say, much like Paul does, “By God’s grace I am what I am.”
What do you hope people take away from your story?
You don’t have to be the perfect person for God to save you and use you. Often times, we think we have too much baggage and sin for God to save us. Yet, the grace and power of Christ on the Cross is bigger than your past sin and shame. God has a proven track record of ransoming and redeeming lost people just like me.
In the same way, we think if we don’t have the evangelistic gifts of Billy Graham or the preaching prowess of John Piper then God cannot use us. After I was saved, I was convinced God could not use me. I was an introvert with barely discernable talents. Yet, God called me and used me to make disciples throughout the last 17 years.
Hopefully, through My Affliction For His Glory people will be encouraged by the story of God’s grace in my life and be willing to trust Him with their everything. In doing so, my prayer is that people will live their lives for His glory and not their own.