At our regional ministers’ breakfast this morning, our regional leader, as usual, brought us an inspirational talk. Today’s was based on the account in Acts 3 of Peter and John bringing healing to the man at the Beautiful Gate – an inspiring account on any day. As he was talking I realised how challenged I was by Peter’s words to the man: ”We do not have what you are asking for, but here is what we do have – be healed in the name of Jesus!” (that’s the Atkinson paraphrase version).
The reason I was so challenged is that it brought back to me an occasion only last week when someone asked to speak to me. This gentleman is a wheelchair user who has many difficulties in life and who wanted to talk about some of them. I am very aware of the value of listening to people and I know he was grateful to be able to share some of his burden. However, I felt a sense of inadequacy when I offered at the end to pray for him. Surely there should be something else one could offer? But in this case not – it’s being there, listening and praying.
So to the challenge: I don’t think Peter felt inadequate that he had nothing material to give to his man. On the contrary. What he had was better than anything the man was already asking for. His confidence was high and that confidence was not in his own ability but in the name of Jesus. Well, I did pray in that same name, even though my friend found it odd, I think. And though my friend did not immediately jump up, walk, leap and praise God (like the Acts man) I dare to believe that the grace of God which touched him is having its ongoing effect. And God says to me, “Try believing more next time.” When all I have is prayer, then all I have is the power of God who made the universe and who demonstrates love to those who reach out for Him.
I know that’s enough.
While I’m on the subject of healing and illness, I encourage you to check out the blog of a friend whose 8-year-old son is seriously ill. She writes very movingly about her ongoing trust in God and how to pray while fear and uncertainty are still present. If you have a moment, read it. You will be moved and I hope you will pray.