Peter and John went to the Temple one afternoon to take part in the three o’clock prayer service. As they approached the Temple, a man lame from birth was being carried in. Each day he was put beside the Temple gate, the one called the Beautiful Gate, so he could beg from the people going into the Temple. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for some money. Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, “Look at us!” The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting some money. But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!” Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man’s feet and ankles were instantly healed and strengthened.
-Acts 3:1-7 NLT
Can you imagine being crippled from birth and needing to beg every day of your life for provision? Can you imagine being helped to the gate of something beautiful and not accessing what’s beyond the gate? This unnamed man in the bible had found complacency in his ailment. Whether he was happy or sad is unstated and left for implication. What we can see clearly, however, is that his routine was set. His plan was locked tight each day. He was carried in, perhaps by the same people daily or maybe the community all committed to a certain day to be responsible for his transportation to the gate. I want to pose a question to you in this moment, and I challenge you to be completely honest with yourself. When you see a beggar on the street, how do you respond? Most of us are not willing to give eye contact. It feels awkward. The better part of our mind thinks to say a small prayer for them, maybe; and we soon forget their faces. Some of us, on the other hand, go a step further and give loose change or even dollars on a good day. And these are often the cases that we see on social media when the person gives them-self praise for helping someone less fortunate. Now, Peter and John! They put us all to shame. They didn’t have money to give this man, but they didn’t leave him how they found him. They connected him with a power much more beautiful than the gate of which he had made his daily occupation. With the power of Jesus, they commanded him in faith to get up and walk. The scripture shows us that this beggar was healed instantly. After receiving his healing, he praised God beyond the gate of beautiful. While reading this, perhaps like me, you wanted to place yourself within the shoes of Peter and John. Maybe you begin making mental vows to handle things more like Peter and John the next time you are in the same position with a beggar. But what if I told you that we are more like the beggar than Peter and John?
How many times have we laid at the entrance of something beautiful, staying complacent with our inabilities and begging for small increments of satisfaction?
What if I told you that a lot of us have been stuck watching others enter this beautiful place filled with the unknown joys and process of marriage and family. What has kept us stuck? It has been the absence of hope, the fear of being wrong, lack of vulnerability, impatience, misunderstandings, depletion in confidence, constant reminders of offenses. It has been hoarding memories, harboring unforgiveness, fearing rejection, embracing shame and regret. These issues have left us crippled--unable to move beyond the gate and into this beautiful place that God desires us to witness and live. Surely you had to wonder, why didn’t this crippled man asked to be carried beyond the gate of Beautiful? Did he not feel worthy enough to enter? Did he feel limited and unsure? Perhaps his fear suggested that it was best he simply sit at the gate and beg for something temporary. Perhaps it is our fear of embarrassment or rejection that forbids us from asking to go beyond the gate to experience what is beautiful. Because of this, we will sabotage a relationship that has been sent from heaven or exit prematurely. During my six year journey of discovery, I asked the Father why was this my behavior and he answered me quickly and simply. “You’re afraid of beautiful.” Maybe you’re like I was and for that I say this to you: I understand how comfortable it is to lay at the gate of beautiful in search of temporary provision. My prayer is that you would understand that what is temporary will always pass away, but I want to introduce you to something eternal. That is the power of Jesus. I introduce you to the faith that forced me to my feet and right beyond the gate of Beautiful. What’s beyond the gate is beautiful. Work is required, even beyond the gate. The biggest secret is that when I stepped beyond the gate, my groom wasn’t right there waiting on one knee and a ring. Beyond the gate was a place that welcomed the real me; the healed me; the whole me. Beyond the gate, it was far more beautiful than the temporary gifts I received at the gate. Beyond the gate was a freedom that could never be taken away from me.
Facebook: Brittney L.Reel