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The parable of the asthmatic

Once there was a boy that looked like all the other boys. One day in PE, he was made to run laps with the other children. Being the first time he had run with other children, he noticed that he was much slower than they were. In fact, he was dead last. This happened every time they ran, and he was sorely made fun of by the children. 

He wanted to run as fast as they could, but it was very hard. He continued to push himself harder and harder. One day, he finished second to last. Another day, third to last. Eventually, this boy managed to get into the head of the last third of the column. And so it went.

In high school, this boy decided to sign up for wrestling. Most of practice was running sprints where the coach would blow a whistle, and the last person in the line had to sprint to the front of the line. Once again, the young man saw that he was the slowest person on the team.

After an hour of conditioning, the young men would then wrestle a round in rotation among the other teammates. If you lost the round, you had to do 30 push ups, and that made it harder to win the next round because you were tired. The young man, being tall and slightly overweight, had only one person in his weight class: a very short, very strong, very lean young man who had wrestled for several years. Every practice, for the entire practice, he endlessly lost and did pushups. He was so tired after every practice that he would go straight to bed.

After high school, the young man joined the army. In basic training, he was assigned to the slowest running group with people who were obese even though he was not. He refused to accept this assignment, and pushed himself every day. He was promoted to the next running group, and then the next one.

Eventually, he was one of two selected from his unit to attend parachutist school. Every day the candidates ran 5 miles in formation, and then ran throughout the day. Failing to keep up two times meant being sent home. The man found that his full effort--running so fast that his vision was blacking out--was insufficient to keep the pace. After failing one run, he decided that he would not fall out again, even if it killed him. He made the next run, even though he had to put his hand in front of him to feel the next man he could no longer see. Then he made the next run. And the next one.

He graduated and returned home--to find he was the fastest runner in his unit.

Some time later, he went to a hand to hand combat course, where he was taught ground fighting and submission moves. He was the second best in the large class. He found that he was able to hold on longer than the others when they went to choke him.

This man continued in the army for another 7 or so years, performing very well on all his physical fitness tests. After ten years in the army, he went to the doctor for a bad cough and found out he had asthma. Not exercise induced asthma, but a solid normal case of asthma. His lung capacity was so bad that army regulations required his immediate discharge. He had no idea.

In his weakness, the man had to push past what normal people were willing to do in order to achieve what normal people did. And in doing so, he unlocked the key to doing what normal people were unwilling to do.

This is what it is like having more light than other people. Finding things much harder than others, but not understanding why, you learn to trust God and work harder than others. And then you become better than others. It is only because of your weakness that you work harder than others, and it is only because you work harder than others that you become better than them. Only after doing that for a long time do you come to understand why things are as they are for you.