Monday, November 18, 2013

Acts 3:6-8

"Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.
And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.
And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God."
Acts 3:6-8

When Peter and John approached this man who was asking for money, that's what he expected... some money.  Then he could go on living the way that he had been.  He had been lame since he was born... he never learned to walk.  And yet, without learning, when Peter took his hand, he was walking and leaping.  God healed not just his legs and feet, but healed the deficit of knowledge that he had from never learning to walk as a child.
The man has been carried to this same place and sat there begging each day... probably for years.  God probably could have prevented his lameness, or healed him at any moment of his life... so why now?  And why do any of us have to suffer with our personal afflictions?  Why do bad things happen?  Why can't God just tell us the answers?  Why do we have to suffer, or experience pain or setbacks or heartache or embarrassment, or any of it?  Why do we have to choose between God and things that we love?  Why, why, why, why, why?  ... It feels like that sometimes, doesn't it?
God knows it, and he doesn't enjoy seeing us suffer... but just as with the analogy (and truth) of us being the children and him the Father... no one can grow up FOR us.  No one can learn to crawl in our place... or we'll never learn it.  Or in the analogy (and truth) of this life being a test with God as the teacher... if he gave us all the answers, then we would never learn the subject.  But he tells us where to find them... and he hold out his arms and helps us have the motivation to crawl and then to walk to him as well.
Sometimes we have to suffer for a little while in order to learn, but then God heals us... and just as with this man, he doesn't just heal the outside, but the inside too.  All the way down, everything.  No bitterness, no resentment, no complaint that God left him lame for so much of his life.  Just joy.  And so it will be for us, if we are patient and continue to look to God for our help.
Today, let's be patient in our afflictions... knowing they are temporary, and designed to teach us what we need to know.  And let's look to God for our healing, inside and out.

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