There’s just something inspiring and satisfying about a story in which someone with a challenging situation overcomes the odds and grabs a hold of success.
Some of the most beloved Bible stories have that theme: David and Goliath, Gideon and his army of 300, a disadvantaged orphan named Esther who becomes the Queen of a nation and saves her people, a Moabitess widow named Ruth who winds up married to a rich Jew and becomes Jesus’ great grandmother.
There’s just something hopeful about the underdog getting the victory that resonates with people.
When Southern Gospel singer Ben Waites snagged the opportunity to perform on America’s Got Talent, he was the personification of that beloved theme.
Originally, Waites wasn’t even trying to get on the show. The opportunity found him because of a performance of him uploaded to TikTok gone viral.
He received 600,000 views in 24 hours, which captured the attention of the Producers for America’s Got Talent. They contacted him and asked him to audition.
That wasn’t the only thing that made Waites an interesting selection for the show. He was born with a disability called Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita (AMC).
The challenge in this is that it involves multiple joint contractures that limit the range of motion in joints so that they are unable to fully extend or bend. The most common areas of the body that are impacted are wrist, hand, elbow, shoulder, hips, knees and ankles.
Growing up, Waites also struggled with pitch to the point that his grandfather and musical mentor referred to him as tone deaf, but his grandfather was also able to help him overcome that.
His family always encouraged him not to make excuses. They expected him to find a way to step out and do the things he wanted to do and not let his disability get in the way.
His rendition of it brought a standing ovation from the audience and judges, as well as tears to the eyes of judge Sofia Vergara. All three judges voted for him to continue in the competition.
Waites told Baptist Press that, “Everything that I’ve done my entire career has been so heavily oriented in serving Christ and showing the love of God to as many people as I can. I looked at this as an opportunity of reaching a lot of people that I probably couldn’t have on my own.
“I’m carrying a lot of weight on my shoulders over it, not in the sense of being overly nervous or caring about winning. That stuff doesn’t matter to me. What I’m more concerned about is appropriately and effectively showing the Gospel of Christ through this opportunity. It’s very important that I get that message across.”