One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer--at three in the afternoon. Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, "Look at us!" So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. Then Peter said, "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk." Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man's feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
Well there I am. I'm like that crippled man - I've accepted the truth of my circumstances. I tell myself, "this is just the way it is". And it is. Of course it is. Parts of me are crippled. I am limited. I am broken. I am certainly resigned to begging for just enough to get through THIS day. And then, tomorrow, it starts all over again.
I tell myself it's okay.
My body image shit is valid. It's justified. Right?
Isolating is just a natural part of the rhythm of my life. Right?
Anxiety, depression, spiraling. It's life. My life.
For a very long time I've been at war within myself. I hear the truth of my circumstances; they are always in my face, always screaming for acknowledgement.
But there is also the whisper of Truth. Big, booming, steady, trembling Truth.
I hold out my hands, my crippled self content to beg. I ask for something to get me through today. Just enough? It's a real need. I truly AM broken.
This time, though, Jesus speaks through other broken people. This time he says, "No. No more 'just enough.' I have more. So much more. Get up and walk."
Listen to me, fellow cripples. Healing is a choice. Healing takes place in the light. When the Truth of Jesus confronts the truth of your circumstances, take his hand. Stand up. Even if you know you can't walk. Even if it contradicts the story of your entire life. Walk.
If we can't trust, if we can't relinquish the things that keep us stagnant and broken, then we will never know the joy of dancing. We will never leave that spot next to the gate called Beautiful. And don't you want to enter through the gate? Don't you want to really live?
God is the God of mercy. He sees us. He knows we are abused, neglected, wounded, tattered, demolished and hungry. He knows we are teetering on cliffs we can't even name. He knows we are resigned to the very small truth of what we've been born into. He knows.
And this is the God who has declared this battle cry...
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion-- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.
Jesus knows that our need runs deeper than physical brokenness. He knows that our hearts are burdened. Doesn't he?
If you're with me, sitting next to that Temple gate called Beautiful, then let's look for him. Let's hold out our hands and wait for the Healer to come by.
Eyes peeled, friends. He may not look like we want him to. We may not recognize him.
But he will recognize us.