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I learned grace from Def Leppard



In December 1984, Rick Allen, drummer for the rock band Def Leppard, was involved in a horrible automobile accident that resulted in the amputation of his left arm. Naturally, the rock-n-roll community wrote Rick off as an unfortunate loss in the competitive world of music. Rick's band mates, however, did not write him off. In fact, the band rallied behind Rick, refusing to go on unless he could be their drummer. What?! Who wants a one-armed drummer? The band must be insane! There is no way that a left-arm amputee could play drums for one of the biggest rock-n-roll bands of the 1980s...right?


Well, yes, that's what conventional wisdom would say. But grace says something different. Grace says, "We can do the impossible!" Grace says, "Friendship and loyalty are more important than success." Grace says, "Love is a powerful 'force' in the world, and through love, all things are possible." You see, Def Leppard chose the path of grace. They chose love, friendship, loyalty, and belief in the impossible. They chose to keep Rick Allen in the band, even though he was missing something every drummer ostensibly needs: a second arm.


As many of you know, Rick modified his drum set with special foot pedals, altered his drumming technique, and became one of the most notable drummers of all time. And Def Leppard? How did they fare with a one-armed drummer? Outstandingly! Two years after Rick's terrible accident, Def Leppard released their Hysteria album, which became a classic rock staple. On it were such glam metal hits as "Pour Some Sugar on Me," "Hysteria," "Animal," and "Love Bites." And Def Leppard was recently nominated for induction into the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame in 2019. Not too shabby for a band with one arm tied behind its back! (Pun intended)


Grace comes in many forms and from many sources...yes, even hard rock bands. And no matter where it surfaces, grace is always beautiful. As a Christian, I see God's grace all around me...in nature, in my friends, in the various experiences and opportunities I've had in life, etc. But when I see it from such an unlikely source as Def Leppard, I know that God's grace is truly ubiquitous and has no boundaries. God is at work everywhere, and his perfect love pushes the limits of our expectations every day!


You know, some people might say that I shouldn't write an article about a bunch of hard rockers. Some would probably say I should never have listened to Def Leppard's music, and I definitely shouldn't have wasted my time learning their band's story. But, you know what...they taught me something unique about God's pervasive grace motivated by His love. And nothing "bites" about that kind of love!


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