One afternoon Peter and John were on their way to the Temple for the three o’clock hour of prayer. A man who had been lame from birth was being carried along in the crowd, for it was the daily practice to put him down at what was known as the Beautiful Gate of the Temple, so that he could beg from the people as they went in. As this man saw Peter and John just about to enter he asked them to give him something. Peter looked intently at the man and so did John. Then Peter said, “Look straight at us!”
The man looked at them expectantly, hoping that they would give him something. “If you are expecting silver or gold,” Peter said to him, “I have neither, but what I have I will certainly give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk!” Then he took him by the right hand and helped him up. At once his feet and ankle bones were strengthened, and he positively jumped to his feet, stood, and then walked. Then he went with them into the Temple, where he walked about, leaping and thanking God. (JBP)
In our lives we sometimes don’t get what we figure we need. Other times, we get just what we need. And at yet other times we get something quite different from what we thought we needed. The gift we seek turns out to be a rather different gift.
So it was for this unnamed beggar seeking money to eke out a basic living as one of society’s outcasts. Life was a tedious routine of getting just enough to live on, with the lingering fear that even that minimal token would not be enough.
He was, at best, expecting some money from Peter and John. He got more than he bargained for. They gave him no money but gave him something far better: his physical healing, his mobility, his chance to join his society again as a functioning member of it.
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It would be lovely if we could all rely on such super abundant miracles to occur with great regularity in our lives. Though we might argue that if such things happened routinely we may hesitate to call them “miracles”! We cannot explain why some get healed and end up walking and leaping and praising God, while others are left in their weakened state.
What we can know is that our God is able to give us more than what we might reasonably expect. The task of faith is to be open to all possibilities. True, we don’t always get what we ask for, but don’t forget we can sometimes get a whole lot more.