There was once a man who was born crippled. He was now over forty years old so he had been living with a broken body for many years, begging just to eek out a living. Can you imagine just sitting there, day after day, unable to move while people pass by? I would not be surprised if there were times when he just wanted to give up except that his life depended on the alms for which he begged.
One day, this man begged from someone who gave him something far greater than money. You likely know the story from Acts 3, and perhaps even the Bible School song that goes along with it. “Peter and John went to pray. They met a lame man on the way. He asked for alms and held out his palms and this is what Peter did say. ‘Silver and gold have I none, but what I have I give you. In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.’ He went walking, and leaping, and praising God!”
You want to know the irony in this story? The gate that this man sat in front of day after day in all of his brokenness was called… Beautiful. This Temple gate was likely called Beautiful because it was made of Corinthian brass. When the City of Corinth was burned, many statues of brass, gold, and silver melted and ran together forming what was then called Corinthian brass. This metal was valued even more than gold or silver and was used to construct the Beautiful gate. The gate was likely the largest and most ornate of the Temple gates, some say requiring the strength of twenty people to open and close it (Ellicott’s Bible Commentary). Just imagine something that grand. It’s not a wonder the gate was called Beautiful. It lived up to its name. Can you imagine sitting in front of something so exceedingly beautiful with such an exceedingly broken body? I can.
Day after day, I sit in this broken body with its broken heart and broken dreams. Sometimes I do feel paralyzed by suffering. I beg for a few alms of hope. Hope to survive, hope for healing. And the whole time. THE WHOLE TIME, I sit in front of the Beautiful. When I am looking for it, God makes it clear that I am never removed from His Beauty. I am broken, crippled so that I can’t move away from the Beauty even if I try. That is the biggest gift my God has given me through this illness. He’s halted me so that I am able to just sit and stare at his splendor. Opening my eyes to God’s beauty sure messes up my pity party!
God has given me eyes to see the gifts that are all around me and even in my illness. I have the gift of time. I am able to focus on the things that matter most in this life, rather than pouring myself into the things that he’s teaching me just aren’t that important. I’ve been given the gift of re-aligning my purpose with God’s purpose for me. Amazing! I’m a slow learner but he is revealing to me more about my purpose as we go along on this journey together, which is how he meant life to be from the start. I have been given the gift of appreciation. I appreciate the ‘little things’ so much more than I used to, and have realized that sometimes they are actually the big things. My illness has given me more opportunities to learn about myself and who God wants me to be. God is giving me His strength through this journey, which is an incredible gift in itself. Through this illness, he is giving me the gift of broken walls, opening my heart to so much that I had closed it to in the past. I believe that God has given me new eyes to read this story in Acts, and new eyes to see his beauty in my life. I can’t help but wonder if the man in the story noticed the beauty or if he was too consumed with his brokenness. I want to keep searching, moment by moment, for beauty in my brokenness. So, day after day, I sit in front of the Beauty, I bask in the Glory, I soak in the Presence, I adore my God who sits with me.
And then one day, my persistence and faith will be rewarded. “By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see” (Acts 3:16). I get chills when I read that! In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, I WILL BE HEALED. The Name of Jesus Christ will give COMPLETE healing to me. So. Much. Emotion! And when this happens, I promise there will be much walking and leaping and praising God!!!!!! In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, I WILL RISE UP AND WALK. Once I have learned to appreciate true beauty, which can be found even in brokenness, once I can see God in my rubble, never taking him for granted, I will be blessed with true healing, a healing that is far greater than health. Hallelujah.
I’ll go walking, and leaping, and praising God…..
Join me in the Facebook group Beauty in the Rubble for more encouragement.