He is an unlikely champion. But Kyle Maynard is inspiring. I don’t know if he believes the Bible, but he lives several of its principles.
Kyle Maynard follows the command, “Do everything without complaining” (Philippians 2:14). Oh, he has plenty of reason to complain. At least, we’d think so. Kyle was born a “congenital amputee.” His arms end where most of us have elbows. He has no hands. His legs are shorter than my feet, and his feet are turned the opposite direction from mine. All reasons I would want to complain.
But not Kyle. His high school coaches cited him as a role model for his teammates. Yes, his coaches! Kyle wrestled on the varsity team at Collins Hill High in Suwanee, Georgia. When others complained about being tired, coaches pointed to Kyle finishing off 350 consecutive push-ups or doing 40 pull-ups with a harness attached to his arms.
Kyle Maynard also exemplifies perseverance. When he started wrestling in sixth grade, he lost badly. Forty consecutive matches, he hoped for victory. Forty times, he lost. But he refused to quit! In his second season, Kyle finally won. He eventually won 36 matches in his 103-pound class. He’s now in the Georgia Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Kyle’s tenacity is what God asks of us. “Stand firm,” he tells us, “Let nothing move you.” (1 Corinthians 15:58). Since high school, Kyle has become a motivational speaker, written a best-selling book (No Excuses), and become the first quadruple amputee to climb Mount Kilimanjaro without prosthetics.
Maynard showed, too, how to turn a weakness into strength. His short legs didn’t afford him the leverage of his wrestling opponents. Without hands, he couldn’t lock his arms around another wrestler. But those weaknesses, Kyle used to his advantage. Opponents couldn’t shoot for his legs. Their standard holds wouldn’t work on Kyle precisely because he does not have the normal limbs for them to grab.
This, too, is a Biblical concept - perhaps the most important one. We win in life, not by exerting our strength, but by surrendering it. When Paul prayed that his physical limitations be removed so he could function better, God refused saying, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Victory in life goes, not to the strongest or smartest or prettiest - not even to the most righteous. Instead, God crowns those who trust his strength, those who endure difficulty without complaint, those who refuse to give up no matter how many times they seem beaten.
If Kyle can win, we can win.