Each of us have found ourselves in seasons where we wonder, “Why me, God?” For some, it is a financial crisis. For others, it is abuse or addiction. Others find that their relationship is shattered or unraveling. When faced with a trial, how will we respond? Jose Flores offers us an inspiring model of how one young man has risen up to fulfill his unique purpose.
In his early teens, Jose Flores was diagnosed with a health condition that would eventually cause him to lose the use of his legs. He was told that he would likely be in a wheelchair by age 15. While he was able to walk far longer than the doctors expected, he did lose his ability to walk at age 22. After falling down on the floor unable to walk, he cried out to God asking Him to take the disease from him, to heal him. He was angry at God. How could a good God make him “this way,” he wondered.
It is natural to compare ourselves with others and feel despair about our deficiencies in relation to others. Jose watched as peers his age played sports and moved through their day effortlessly. He began to avoid social experiences that highlighted his inability to walk and hide from the world. He felt insignificant and worthless…weak. The Bible provides numerous examples of people that were faced with weakness – psychological, physical and intellectual challenges. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 provides insight regarding the purpose of our weakness. It says, “But [Jesus] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
When we face challenges, it is easy to shake our fist in anger at God or close our hearts and pull away from our faith. The Bible says, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you” (1 Peter 4:12). Peter is gently reminding us that life is going to present all kinds of challenges. Don’t be surprised when you find yourself in the midst of one. It is an invitation to rise up to the person you are called to be and to the purpose that you were created to fulfill.
Setting an example
Today, Jose Flores is a motivational speaker who inspires teens and adults by sharing his story about how God created him “this way” for a purpose. God planned to use him to guide, motivate and comfort those who feel weak and worthless. He has created an organization called Indispensable Now and is inspiring young people and adults throughout South Florida.
When asked what led him to where he is today, he said, “What inspired me to become a motivational speaker was the fact that the only thing I needed to have to motivate people was a voice. Being in a wheelchair, it took me a while to figure that out, but once I did, I did everything I could to become an expert at using my voice to motivate and inspire people to take that feeling of being insignificant and turn it into a feeling of being absolutely necessary. Which is what being Indispensable is all about!”
Throughout the month of April, Jose has spoken to young adults at eight Firewall CentersFirewall Centers, an afterschool program that provides low-income middle and high school students with free daily mentoring, tutoring and servant leadership development located at schools throughout South Florida. During a recent seminar, a young lady asked him what causes his disease and if anyone was working on a cure. He shared that his disease is called Spinal Muscular Atrophy, which progressively weakens his muscles as he gets older, a result of a deficiency of a specific motor neuron protein called SMN that typically allows the muscle to maintain its strength. After the seminar, the individual came up to him and shared that she had always wanted to be a neurosurgeon but was beginning to doubt herself and was thinking about giving up. She said to him, “after hearing your story, I’m going to continue with my studies because you never know, I may just be the one to find a cure or at least help find a cure.” In her moment of weakness, where her purpose was being challenged, hearing how Jose has responded inspired her to rise up and press forward toward the vision God has place her in heart.
Jose said, “God has taught me through my work that you don’t have to know everything, that you only need to be willing and He will help you along the way. He has also taught me that He can use even the people that we may at times look at as being weak or insignificant to do great and mighty things because they too are also indispensable in His eyes!”
He points to 1 Corinthians 12:21 as a guiding verse. We all have strengths and weaknesses, and each serves a role in fulfilling our individual purpose.
If you are interested in learning more about Jose Flores, visit his website at www.indispensablenow.com. To schedule him as a speaker at your school, organization or church, he can be reached at [email protected] or 305-563-4634. You can also follow him on Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube @IndispensableNow.
Terry Morrow, Ph.D. is the president of Morrow and Associates Partnership for Leadership and Transformation. She is an assistant dean and assistant professor at Nova Southeastern University. She can be reached at [email protected]