Thursday, March 3, 2011

What We Ask For

Serendipity, I am told, is the act of discovering what delights when we're looking for something else.

Once a beggar lame from birth sat at the gate to a holy place. This gate was called Beautiful while the man was called Lame. For the One who's holiest place lies within the hearts of people, this seemed backward. So, while on their way to worship, He gently arrested his disciples Peter and John. "Look at what has become of my temple whom people have called Lame-From-Birth!"

"Got any spare change?"

"Peter and John looked at him intently," the story goes, "and Peter said, 'Look at us!' The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting a gift."

Here is a man who clearly does not get what he is asking for. Serendipity springs from the Source of all knowing, gracing a man with the fulfillment of his deepest desire, the desire he dares not dream.

"I don't have any money for you. But I'll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk!" Out poured the treasure heaven stores in human vessels upon this treasured man, Lame-From-Birth.

"Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man's feet and anklebones were healed and strengthened. He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk! Then, walking, leaping, and praising God, he went into the Temple with them."

I believe they continued into the man-made temple, with their holy human hearts on fire with joy. I believe the Beautiful Gate itself could not have been a more lovely sight to those who love the Father.

"All the people saw him walking and heard him praising God. When they realized he was the lame beggar they had seen so often at the Beautiful Gate, they were absolutely astounded!"

This is not astounding at all to the One whose Temple is not made by human hands. When man-made altars are clothed with greater honor than His own precious image-bearers, how can He not weep. No, it is we who are amazed when God turns our worship upside down and shakes it with His Truth. But still, we miss His purpose when we stop and stare at the miracle of one man's healing, because it is only the prelude to the outpouring of grace to follow.

"Peter saw his opportunity and addressed the crowd." Healing truth is also heavenly Treasure. Peter and John walked through the open door to hundreds of hungry hearts created by the healing, to heal a nation with these words. "Jesus lives. Jesus forgives. Jesus is Lord of all."

How wonderful when we do not get what we expect, but what we need from our Father in the Heavenlies - healing for the soul, a new name, Healed- by- Faith, perhaps, or Strengthened-By-Flames.

How wonderful when we do not give what people expect, but what He directs.

What other instances in Scripture show us men and women who do not get from God what they ask for?

Have you received a different answer than you have asked for from God? How has this affected you?

Has the Spirit used you in an unexpected or inexplicable way? Why do you think He did this?

Father, make me so attentive a listener that I hear your Voice above all desires and expectations. Pour forth through me Your Treasure.