There are certain times of the year wherein I get this feeling of being penniless. When you have so much bills to pay, when you have so much expenses coming up, and you tend to question everything. It is about that time again. I have started to ask God for manna from Heaven. For money to somehow fall out from the sky and into my bank account. Multiplication of the coins, so to speak.
But, as usual, my mind and heart were in the wrong place. I was struck by the reading today in ACTS.
“Peter and John were going up to the temple area for the three o’clock hour of prayer.
And a man crippled from birth was carried and placed at the gate of the temple called “the Beautiful Gate” every day to beg for alms from the people who entered the temple.
When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked for alms.
But Peter looked intently at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.”
He paid attention to them, expecting to receive something from them.
Peter said, “I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, (rise and) walk.”
Then Peter took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles grew strong.
He leaped up, stood, and walked around, and went into the temple with them, walking and jumping and praising God.
When all the people saw him walking and praising God,
they recognized him as the one who used to sit begging at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, and they were filled with amazement and astonishment at what had happened to him.”
I first felt so much like the beggar. Just waiting for people to give me alms. Looking people in the eye and begging them for anything they can give. I am a missionary, after all, and God should take care of me and my needs. And that sinking feeling of: “Where in the world will I get the money?” Or the disappointing feeling when someone tells you that he has nothing to give. Nothing material, anyway.
But then, when the beggar was cured, it struck me. What I have is just like what happened to the beggar. I have been cured. I have been blessed. I have been a missionary for almost 15 years. I have a wonderful wife and three amazing children. And God has always seen to it that we have everything we need. He has always given the right things at the right time. And the things He didn’t give, was always for a reason. I knew that then, and I do still know it now. I am NOT the beggar at the gates. I am the healed man.
Then God asked me a simple question. You are healed, but what are you doing now? Have I been walking and jumping and praising God? Do I still walk and jump and praise God like a man who has been healed and cured and forgiven?
I keep asking for things. Things already given. Things promised to come at the right time. But what have I given? Am I so selfish and short-sighted?
I am the healed man. I am cured. I have everything that I need. I have a Father who takes care of me. And a Protector and Provider who knows. And that’s enough re-affirmation for me to walk, jump and praise Him with ever more fervor.