Gifted Hands

Gifted Hands
by Ben Carson

Look at your hands. What do you see? Do you see slim and slender fingers, ideal for playing the piano? Or do you see thick skinned, and calloused hands that have been exposed to many an hour of physical labour. Has the Lord blessed you with gifted hands? Do you have the talent to perform long, exhausting and delicate brain surgery?

With that thought in mind, could you imagine a young boy from inner-city Detroit deciding that when he grew up, he was going to become a doctor? Often the dreams of young boys do not eventuate. A boy may want to become a doctor but his life is guided differently than he would expect. But this one did - and not just any doctor. He became one of the world’s most renowned neurosurgeons. He used the gift of his hands and mind to save hundreds of lives, even when most other doctors and surgeons had given up on the patient. The boy’s name is Ben Carson. You can read his story in Gifted Hands.

In his book, Ben tells of the hardships he faced as a child - the teasing through his primary education and his wild temper which led to things he would much rather forget. There is one thing that is very notable about this young boy – his mother. As a student, perhaps you disliked doing homework, even when you mother told you to. Can you imaging your mother giving you extra homework? She would require you to go to the library and pick two books to read within the week. Then once you’ve read them, you can give your mother a report on what they are about! To make time for reading those books you are only allowed to watch three television programs a week.

To imagine your mother giving you extra homework may be difficult for some, but Ben soon realised that this extra homework was for his own good. His grades increased so dramatically that he no longer was ‘the dumb kid’ but the top of the class!

To think that we are ‘the dumb kid’ is wrong. We have been given special talents by God. Sometimes we just have to look a little harder to find them. In the short term, these extra homework exercises may have seemed pointless to Ben but in the long term it brought him a wealth of good. Maybe we can apply this to our own lives too...

Ben was a member of the Seventh Day Adventist church. He lived under the belief ‘that if you ask God for something, believing that He will give it, He will give it’. While this statement is correct in a sense, we have to remember that we will only receive it if God decides that we do need it and that it coincides with His plan. It is noted that in Gifted Hands Ben does not fully acknowledge God’s Plan for us, as he states after the death of one of his patients ‘that her death remains a mystery’. We know that no matter what man can do, it is all futile unless God decides to bless the work of men and women like Ben Carson.

Ben’s story is remarkable, filled with interesting twists and turns. He tells and explains all that shaped him as a man - his childhood, his school years, his teenage years, his young adult years, his romance, his education and his career. While all these things shaped him, elevating him to where he is today, he acknowledges God for the gifts of determination and gifted hands.

Let’s learn from this and be thankful for what God has given us now. When we receive status and wealth within the world, we have to be careful that it doesn’t corrupt us. Pray the Lord that he will continue to keep each of us eternally thankful...

Review by E. Visser