I was reading Acts 3:1-10 this morning – it’s the story of Peter and John healing the crippled beggar outside the temple courts.
When I have read this story in the past, I have usually focused in on the man’s reaction to his healing. He goes away walking and praising God (rightfully so).
But this morning I was struck by another aspect of the story.
This man has spent his whole life begging – the passage says he was born a cripple and placed outside the temple every day to beg for money. This is how he survived; he couldn’t do any other kind of work, so he relied on the generosity of others.
When Peter and John come along, not only do they give him their full attention (instead of just ignoring him), they give him something far greater than the money he is begging for. They give him full and complete healing from his crippled condition, in the name of Jesus Christ.
And what strikes me is that perhaps this cripple had been asking for the wrong thing all along. He thought he needed the money just to survive, just to get by and keep living. But what he really needed was healing from his condition. I wonder – he spent his days outside a temple – why did he never think to ask for healing? Perhaps he didn’t realise he needed it. Perhaps he didn’t think it was possible. Perhaps he didn’t think he had a right to ask for it. Or (this one really rings true for me) perhaps it was just too easy to keep going in survival mode.
Reflecting on my own life, I wonder how many times I am asking God for the wrong thing. I am asking him for handouts just to get by and survive – whether that be in my marriage, my work or my daily life. When what God really wants (and what I need) is to have my whole life transformed by the healing only he can bring.
Where am I asking for the wrong thing?