"a certain man lame from his mother’s womb…” Acts 3:2
After 9 months and a long drawn out delivery the moment had finally arrived. Agonizing screams of exertion were replaced by the tender cry of a new born. Shocked by the transition from the warm familiar womb into the cool air of the unfamiliar baby cried out with the assuring sounds of healthy lungs and wind-pipes. Mom breathed a sigh of relief and waited for the verdict. “It’s a boy”, the woman acting as midwife exclaimed joyfully. Dad, who had been patiently pacing the floor, staying within ear shot, turned his face toward heaven and verbally gave thanks to God. Mom eagerly waited to take the precious bundle in her arms while baby was washed and *salted. Once the little guy was wrapped tightly to assure limbs would grow straight and firm he was quickly placed in his mother’s arms for bonding. “I’ve been waiting for you my beautiful, precious son.” With her heart fully satiated in all the best emotions she gently rubbed her hand across his tiny head feeling his soft fuzzy hair. “Yes, you are beautiful and most definitely have your daddy’s nose. Eight days from now, little one, you will be consecrated to God and given an honorable name. I can hardly wait to see all the good things God has in store for you, my joy and crown”.
Every mother gives birth anticipating a full and blessed life for her child. A life filled with dreams and hopes! Would it be days, weeks or months before she discovered her precious son was lame in both his ankles and feet? (Acts 3:7) When lameness was determined she no doubt grieved deeply with anguish over dreams that seemed lost or stolen. Like most moms she probably questioned “why him” and “am I to blame, could I have done something differently that would have protected him?” In those days “lameness” was often thought to be the result of the sin of the parents. (John 9:23)
As a mom, I too can agonize over the “lameness” (or brokenness) in the life of my own children. Usually brought on through decisions they make or circumstances that occur. I grieve over what may be lost and wrestle with what I could have done differently. A struggle, I believe, familiar to the heart of many moms.
The words ‘lame from his mother’s womb” communicate a great length of time, in fact a stretch of over 40 years! (Acts 4:22) With the passing of time hope can diminish and it can feel as if God is not doing anything. It can seem as if the opportunity for deliverance or a change of heart is extending to a point beyond redemption. Jesus would have passed by this man many times on his way into the temple and yet He never once looked his way to heal him. It would seem, if there was any hope at all for his healing, it would have been when Jesus was visibly near. Maybe you can relate. Possibly you saw Jesus manifest His presence in a powerful way and thought surely this is the hour of their redemption? Only to be disappointed when the miracle didn’t happen.
But healing and deliverance did come for this man on a day that was completely unexpected. Seeking silver and gold he found Jesus instead!
“Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” Acts 3:6
God did the unexpected at a time in history when it would not only bring redemption to the lame man but the redemption of many.(Acts 4:4) A lame child can be made whole at the most unlikely, unexpected time through faith in Christ. Peter and John had faith that the name of Jesus could raise this crippled man to his feet and it did. Your faith can do the same for your child: from bondage to freedom, from brokenness to wholeness, from despair to hope, from mourning to rejoicing.
God took a lame beggar and gave him feet to dance to a song of praise through faith in the name of Jesus!
“So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them—walking, leaping, and praising God.” Acts 3:8
Let’s seek God for a fresh vision of our children “walking and leaping and praising God”! Then let us exercise faith in His Great and Glorious Name to bring it pass at the right time! (Acts 3:16)
Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. ... John 9:2-3
*The newborn was washed and then had salt rubbed all over its skin in the belief that this hardened it. –Manners & Customs of Bible Times pg49
Recently a very close friend of mine experienced some severe pain that necessitated a trip to the emergency room, which led to a mammogram, which led to a diagnosis of a cancerous tumor. Although the initial pain and discovery process was incredibly difficult it was necessary. The pain was a clear signal that something was wrong and needed attention. But now that the problem has been exposed she can focus on the remedy that will restore her health.
Like pain, guilt is a gift from God signaling something harmful has invaded our lives. Although it is true that sometimes we suffer from false guilt this must be distinguished from true sanctifying guilt that can also be described as conviction of sin. A conviction that results from violating the will of God imprinted upon our hearts.
Some would say “guilt” should never be part of the Christian life but I strongly disagree! The scriptures do say however that there is no reason for “guilt” to plague our lives. When physical pain strikes we seek out the assistance of a physician for a diagnosis and cure. Sanctifying guilt in a similar way is meant to lead us to the arms of Christ for forgiveness and cleansing. Pain is good when it leads to healing!
"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:8-9
Forgiveness in Christ is complete but our sanctification is not! Remember Christ lives to make us FREE. He longs to bring the adjustment necessary in our lives to free us from the harmful effects of sinful behavior and choices.
When the pain of guilt strikes our best response is to flee into His non-condemning presence without excuses, seeking exposure. Excuses only mask the problem they don’t bring a cure. The Great Physician knows exactly what we need and is ready, willing and able to apply His life transforming remedy!
Father, when the pain of guilt strikes help me to see it as a built-in signal reminding me to call upon You. Thank you for the freedom that is mine through Jesus Christ the Liberator! Amen!