He sat by the temple gate called Beautiful. He was lame in both legs. Couldn’t even walk to his begging post.
What must he have felt? He couldn’t limp, much less walk, to the temple gate. Someone had to carry him there. No doubt dust kicked up into his face as people passed his begging post.
He didn’t look into the faces of those from whom he begged. Perhaps shame glued his eyes to the dirt path. Perhaps he was resigned to the reality that this was his lot in life.
Did he grimace at the irony of being placed by the gate called Beautiful? He probably didn’t feel beautiful or attractive. Did he question if God even saw him? He’d probably heard God’s word and law taught in the temple while he begged at the gate. Had he ever even entered into the temple as a lame man?
Then, along came Peter and John.
God had them entering the gate called Beautiful where they came upon this man. The forgotten in their society. The needy. The desperate.
The man saw Peter and John as they entered. He asked for money from them, but he wasn’t looking at them. Perhaps he stared at their feet or the ground.
Peter got his attention, though, when he said, “Look at us!”
Did the man lift his eyes, slowly, moving up each inch of these two men’s healthy bodies? Did the question, “Why?” write itself on his face?
His eyes met theirs. Did his face burn with the shame of his situation? Or was he beyond shame? He expected money from these two men who demanded his attention.
What he received was something so much more. He received a beautiful story. The story of the day he was given a miracle.
I love that Peter not only told him to get up and walk, he offered the man his hand.
The man’s first response was to test out his legs and to praise God. I can hardly imagine the joy that overflowed from his heart.
He wasn’t forgotten. He was healed.
How many times do we feel resigned to our lot in life? I’ve had times when I’ve felt forgotten by God. Times when it seemed like my hard would never go away, but this would be my state of living forever and ever, amen.
Discouragement moves in and takes up residence in my heart. My eyes get tangled in my circumstances. I look at the ground rather than the Father. It’s easier to stare down than to risk looking up and being disappointed.
Those seasons where we feel needy. Helpless. Desperate.
We need to look up. At Him.
If we choose to believe God’s truth rather than what our circumstances tell us, we may just discover a bit of beauty.
God never calls us to walk life alone. He never tells us to do something without first giving us the equipping to do that thing.
Just like Peter reached out a hand to help the man up, God reaches His hand to us. He offers us His love and the promise of His presence. Sometimes He gives us much more than we ever hope for.
When we trust God, our hearts change. Our outer story may not appear different. We may still be walking through hard. But, our internal stories? That’s where resignation can turn to peace. To beauty. That’s where we can learn to walk again, rather than remaining crippled by the circumstances life deals us.
What about you? When have you seen God move in your circumstances in ways you never expected? How do you hold onto Jesus during the difficult times?