Stepping Stones

 

If there is something that we all have in common, it’s that we all have problems that we deal with on a daily basis. Wherever we turn: whether left, right, back or forward, there always seems to be this wall standing in our way. Interestingly enough, each of these walls has a name to them, whether it is doubt, anxiety, fear, addictions, depression, etc., they are all named. And whether we like it or not, in life we have to learn to get past these walls, no matter their level of difficulty.

If you have been in church for some time or not, then you might be familiar with a man known as the “lame beggar” in the book of Acts, chapter 3. If you have not heard this story before, yes, he was known as the lame beggar, he was never referred to by an actual name. As I am writing this, I believe more and more that this detail was left out for a very good reason. If he would have been named, the story would have been treated on a personal level and probably preached only to people who are lame or broke as opposed to the way it is going to be presented.

This individual known as the lame beggar liked to hang out daily by the temple gate called the Beautiful Gate.

“Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to as alms of those entering the temple.”
(Acts 3:1-2)

He believed that since the people passing by him to enter the gates were going in to pray, that they would be willing to give to the poor (since that is a part of what ministry is supposed to look like). Since they would be going with a right heart then they can provide for him. Well, a detail that was left out about the lame beggar: the guy was over 40 years old!

“For the man on whom this sign of healing was performed was more than forty years old.”
(Acts 4:22)

What does this guy’s age have to do with anything? Think about this: if you have to get your wisdom teeth removed, it is mainly because you have a great deal of pain going on in your mouth. By day 2 or 3 the pain is excruciating and you have taken such a great amount of pain relievers that it is difficult to do anything but be in bed all day. By the end of the first week with the pain, all hope is lost of there ever being a day where pain will be no more. You already began to plan your funeral and find yourself making your first payment for your grave location since next week is the ceremony.

Imagine living with that sense of hopelessness for about 40 years. The size of the wall in front of this man was tremendous. I’m sure that from the ground up, he couldn’t see the top of the wall, even with binoculars. Although all he could do was look from the ground up, God provided someone to help him see the wall in a new perspective…

“Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk!” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them,walking and leaping and praising God.”
(Acts 3:3-9)

As Peter and John approached, the lame beggar thought they would be able to contribute to a small problem he had, which would still leave him at the same spot every day, STILL BEGGING and STILL BROKE. If the disciples would have contributed to the small problem of poverty the man had, the next day the man would be there still lame and still broke.

Having a kingdom perspective, the disciples sought out to help with the root issue that the man had, being lame. When the disciples healed the man through the power of Jesus, not only was the man’s perspective changed but so was his identity. No longer can the man be known as the lame beggar. The man was no longer lame since Jesus healed him and now he was able to find a way of working for money, solving the beggar issue. On this day in Acts 3, not only was a man’s perspective shifted, but in addition, God gave the man a new identity, and as a result of the healing, five thousand men heard and believed (not including women and children).

It is when we shift our point of view of these walls and allow God to take the problems we are struggling with into His hands, that the walls we face begin to look more like steps in the staircase of life. The more we allow God to handle our problems, the closer we are to Him and the further we go in life; as opposed to being stagnant, trying to find a way to get through the wall.

The interesting thing about life is that some of these walls were placed in our lives by God for a reason. Like in a maze, there are start and finish lines and throughout our lives we seek to find a path through the maze until we reach the finish line. The side walls were placed there with a purpose in order to guide us through to the end. But sometimes we get lost and begin to go backward or in the wrong direction. It is in those times that God places another wall there to guide us in the right direction. Although we fight and fight about the wall that is present since we may want it to disappear, God knows what is best for us. As a result, He leaves the wall present and at the same time, if we would just open our eyes we would see the enormous neon lights with arrows pointing in the direction He wants us to go, His throne.

Sooooo….. A quick word of advice: look up! God is trying to show you the way. He is trying to shift your perspective away from having gigantic walls ahead, to a perspective of using the walls as stepping stones.

“In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!”


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