By Andrea Harris
Not long ago one of my piano students arrived at her lesson and clearly needed to tell me about her experience at her great-grandmother’s funeral the day before. She related stories about her mother’s grandmother that she hadn’t heard before. Commented on who cried at the service, how she was in quite a few of the pictures in the slide show, and how the family was comforted that grandma was now free of pain after living a long, full life. At a time like that, the C major scale can wait! I was thankful for the opportunity to listen and encourage her and that this student felt comfortable enough to share what was on her heart. She wasn’t hiding it at all.
The lame beggar we meet in Acts 3 couldn’t hide his need. Apparently, his feet and ankles were such that it was clearly evident he couldn’t walk. There was no hiding his disability. Peter and John and everyone else knew what was wrong with him.
Fortunately, he had people who cared enough for him that they carried him every day to the gate called Beautiful to beg for handouts. But sitting there on his mat, what seemed to be his most pressing need was not his true need. He was asking for alms, but received healing.
Sometimes I think we don’t even know what we need, or perhaps we’re afraid to ask God for too much. Maybe we don’t really believe God can do what we ask, or that He wants to give us bread instead of a stone. It can be hard to be honest or accurate about our need and then hard to believe God can meet it.
Later in Acts 3, Peter is preaching to the crowd. He makes a reference to “the time of restoration of all things” (v. 21) which makes me think of the new heaven and new earth that John saw in Revelation 21. We know God is eventually going to completely restore His creation, but what about now? Just like Peter and John offered healing in Jesus’ name, doesn’t God offer us healing and wholeness today through the power of Jesus Christ?
I love the description of this once needy man in Acts 3:8 “With a leap he stood upright and began to walk; and he entered the temple with them walking and leaping and praising God.” He’s not hobbling on unsteady newly-healed feet. He’s walking, leaping and giving credit to the One who made him whole!
Now, I’m not proposing that we all bare all of our needs to everyone, but being honest with ourselves and with our Savior is certainly needed. And can we trust God to give us complete wholeness? Can we trust others to “carry us” when we need it? This is what true fellowship in the Church is about. We bear one another’s burdens and share one another’s joys. We carry the mat for each other in prayer and practical acts.
So, who’s mat can you carry this week? Who will carry your mat when you need it?