When we go through the storms of life, whether self-inflicted or otherwise we wonder how can any good come out of this. This true story shows how it can happen, if we face our difficulties with an attitude of trust in God and perseverance.

In 1809, Simon Renee Braille and his wife Monique welcomed their fourth child into the world– a lively boy named Louis. They lived in a small stone house near Paris where Braille was the local harness maker. Leather working tools are dangerous, so the toddler had been instructed not to go into his father’s shop alone.

But when Louis was still small, he slipped into the shop, and with curiosity started to handle all the fascinating tools. As Louis was inspecting an awl, the sharp tool used to punch holes in leather, he slipped and punctured a part of his eye with the tool. The injured eye became infected. The little boy could not keep his hands from rubbing and scratching the wound, and soon the infection spread to his other eye as well. When Louis was only 4, he became completely blind.

Louis was fortunate enough to study at the Royal Institution for Blind Youth in Paris. He excelled as an organist, and at twelve years old began asking the question “How can the blind read?” Over his summer break at home, Louis was determined to find the answer. As He moved and groped around his father’s shop in search of the right tool for his task, the awl presented itself as perfect for the job. The awl would make the raised dots he had seen in the French military system of “night writing.”

And with the very instrument that had blinded him, Louis worked and worked until he had created a system of dots whereby the blind could read and write, work out maths problems and compose music.

What is your awl? The thing that has crippled you, either by your own doing like young Louis, or someone else’s? Is it a divorce, the death of someone you love, a lost career? Let God take it, and use it in your life for good—to reshape you or comfort others.