Recently, our pastor gave a sermon on Acts 3. In this account, Peter heals a lame man who was unable to walk from birth. This man was laid in position each day by a certain gate in the city of Jerusalem known as the Beautiful gate. The location is significant (and ironic) because this was the route by which worshipers entered the temple courts to worship. It’s also important to note that this lame man was not permitted to go into the temple courts because he was lame. It seems that society assumed that his condition was the result of sin (perhaps by his parents) and he was denied entrance and participation in this very important part of Jewish life. He was denied the opportunity to approach the Lord! So daily he sat, invisible, begging from those who were entering the temple.
Peter and John were going to the temple when they encountered the man who was a known fixture by the locals. I can imagine that he didn’t even look them in the eye. I can imagine that passersby also attempted to avert their gazes and pretend that they didn’t see or hear the panhandler. So when he asked for money, Peter looked directly at him. It seems that the man wasn’t meeting his eyes because scripture indicates that Peter said, “Look at us!” And so, the man gave Peter and John his full attention. And then Peter uttered the famous quote known by all children from Sunday school…”Silver and Gold have I none, but what I DO have, I give to you!” The lame man was healed from that moment and entered the temple gates for the very first time in his life.
As I sat through this sermon, God was touching my heart. You see, I have a bad hip. I used to be a runner in the fullest sense of the word. Running was a passion to me in ways that only other runners can fully comprehend. It was when I worshiped and prayed. During my runs, I was able to take all of the fears and doubts in my heart and let them bleed through my feet and out onto the pavement. Breath in….one…two and breath out…one…two. All of my worries of “I can’t!” became “I WILL!” Slowly, I began experiencing pain that limited me. Half marathons became a slow three mile trot which degraded into a two mile walk. I consulted doctors, took Motrin, iced, and went to physical therapy. Finally, although my mind said otherwise, I had to surrender.
As I sat in church, I so related to the lame man. Being unable to function is discouraging and constant pain takes it’s toll. I also felt a kinship with him, because I’ve been begging for treatment to anyone who would listen. For the last six years, I’ve been consulting surgeons, sports medicine doctors, and physical therapists looking for an answer. When we moved to Colorado, sports medicine finally caught up with my condition and I had an answer. Even better, there was a surgical treatment to fix the condition. I was thrilled! One and a half years later, I’m still sitting the proverbial bench. It seems that the TriCare will not cover the procedure and it would cost $60,000 out of pocket for me to pay for it personally.
The truth is, I’m something of a pest! I’ve been told I was born that way and I can believe it, because my son is the same way. The word “No” merely bounces off of him and he’ll ask the same question 30 or 40 times in various phrasings hoping for a different answer. When I began this journey, I initially thought I’d just run until my leg popped off. The pain just became too great for me to continue. Then I thought, “Well, I’ll just bike,” which morphed into, “I can swim,” and it all became excruciating. When I learned there was a surgical fix and my insurance claim was denied I thought, “You just said no to the wrong girl!” I began a campaign to pester TriCare into covering my claim. I have talked to TriWest, TriWest Corporate, TriCare Management Activity, and I’ve even involved my Senators. It has felt like I am digging my way to China with a spoon! All this time, I’ve been telling God…I’m going to be the squeaky wheel! I will be like the proverbial widow who pesters the King into returning her land. I know you can heal me God and I am not giving up! I go forward and ask for prayers for healing at church and still I continue my one woman campaign for claim approval.
As I sat in church, it occurred to me that the lame man was asking for next to nothing…just enough to make it through the day. He could have asked for the equivalent of a winning lottery ticket so that he would have been able to live large but crippled for the rest of his days. He had low expectations of almighty God. He didn’t even dare to hope that God would heal him and restore him to a place that he had never known before. Inwardly, I prayed, “God I KNOW you can heal me and I would rather you heal me without surgery. But if you choose not to heal me, can I please have $60,000? Lord, if you say ‘No,’ I’ll accept it but I’m not going to give up on you. I am going to keep coming to you and continue asking because I know that you want us to seek you and this is the only thing I know how to do.
Faith as small as a mustard seed…it’s all I have. But God can move a mountain! The very week after this sermon, I received a call unexpectedly. The military has offered me the opportunity to have my hip operated on by a distinguished physician. I feel like God has reached right into my ‘here and now’ and intervened personally. It’s not silver or gold, but it is truly a miracle! God is so good!