"'For I know the plans I have for you,'
declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to
give you hope and a future.'" (Jer
A man, a beggar, sat at the temple gate, begging for money. He had been lame his entire life, and his sole income was the few pennies thrown to him by kind-hearted temple-goers. This was his world, the only thing he knew.
There were days when the temple-goers were generous, days when the beggar went home to feast. How he praised God for those days. There were also days when the temple-goers were stingy. It was on those days that the lame beggar went to bed hungry. I’m sure that his prayer every morning went something like this: "Oh God, send big-hearted temple-goers today! I am so hungry!"
This particular day, however, it didn't appear that God was answering his morning prayer. No one was giving anything. But wait. Weren't those rough-looking men followers of the One called Yeshua, the Messiah? Hadn't Jesus always been kind to the poor? Surely they would give him something!
Peter's words, however, were not welcome ones: "Silver and gold I do not have..." (Acts 3:6, NKJV)
The beggar's hopes dropped. Even the Nazarene's followers didn't care. His stomach must have growled as he squeezed back bitter tears: He would go to bed hungry. Again. Why God? Can't You see I need to eat tonight?
Can you relate to this beggar? We know what it is we need, and we do everything in our power to get it. But sometimes it just doesn't happen. "Why God? Can't You see I need _____?"
The beggar's story doesn't end here, does it? And neither does ours. You see, Peter wasn't finished speaking: "...but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk." (Acts 3:6, NKJV)
You probably know the end of the story. Peter reached down his hand and raised the lame beggar to his feet. The man's feet instantly became strong, and: "...he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them–walking, leaping, and praising God." (Acts 3:8, NKJV)
What happened here?
The man asked God for one thing, what he thought he needed, and he didn't get it. Instead, he got something much, much better.
As we walk through the various valleys of life that we each find ourselves in, let's remember this story. We may think we know what we need, and we may get frustrated when we don't get it. But Truth is, sometimes God withholds what we think we need so that He can give us a far greater blessing: "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" (Jer 29:11, NIV2)
Let's surrender all of our desires and disappointments into His hands, ever believing that in the end, what God does give us will be as much or more better than what we asked for as the man's healing was better than money for supper!
In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.