Sunday, July 1, 2012

When God says No

Acts 3:3-8 "He, when he had seen Peter and John, about to go into the temple, asked to receive an alms. But Peter with John, fastening his eyes upon him, said: Look upon us. But he looked earnestly upon them, hoping that he should receive something of them. But Peter said: Silver and gold I have none; but what I have, I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, arise and walk. And taking him by the right hand, he lifted him up: and forthwith his feet and soles received strength. And he leaping up, stood and walked and went in with them into the temple, walking and leaping and praising God" 

Sometimes we get so used to dealing with the pain we're in that we allow it to limit our prayers and hopes to what will get us through the day. God wants better for us. The man in Acts 3 was like most of us.  He had resigned himself to his situation in life, so used to being poor and in pain that it never even occurred to him that he could ask for something more than just enough to get by for today, or maybe for the week.  Maybe he had prayed for healing a long time in the past and it hadn't come, so he'd given up praying for it.  We do that sometimes, assuming that because God doesn't give us a "yes" right away, that the yes will never come.  So we settle.  We settle for less than the fullness of life that God intends for us.  We settle for the scraps, the left overs, for whatever someone else will hand us.  And we remain in pain, our dignity in tatters, our hearts broken by our burdens.  We become so used to our lives being like this that we forget that there was ever anything more, or we doubt that the Lord has any intention of ever restoring us to something bigger and better and we quit asking.

I have a cousin whose troubles are many.  Her pains are many.  She has applied for disability and been turned down multiple times.  Knowing her as I do, I know she is a praying woman and a woman of faith.  In fact, she made me aware of her situation by asking for prayers that God would move the government to approve her disability application in less time than the 12-18 months they are quoting for her appeal to go through.  I am sure she has prayed for healing in the past, but perhaps has resigned herself to it being God's will for her to be in pain and to need the disability.  I suspect, however, that God wants more for her.  I believe that He wants total healing for her and that this is the real reason He has said "no" to her disability.

I am not Saint Peter.  I do not know how to miraculously heal people simply by uttering the name of Jesus.  Would that I could.  However, what I do know is that Jesus knows how to do this, and so I have offered my prayer for her to be healed totally and completely of all that holds her in chains.  I have prayed that Jesus intervene and bring his healing power into her body, to set right what has been made wrong.  The rest is, of course, up to God but something tells me my cousin is in for a delightful surprise.

I thank and praise God for my cousin's situation, for the pain she was in to be big enough that she brought it to my attention and inspired this writing.  Like my cousin, I have my own pains and problems. Unfortunately, the chains and pains that I carry aren't visible to the naked eye and they wouldn't qualify me for disability at any rate.  Mine are internal scars, leftovers from the past.  These things hold me in bondage to fear - fear that I won't have enough, fear that I'm not lovable, fear that I'm not good enough.  God's been working on healing me, but it is slow going because there's a lot that's broken and the mind and body aren't ready to take all the changes that would have to come to heal everything all at once.  So, over the years I got used to the pain that I carry, got used to living in fear and allowing that fear to drive me into all kinds of trouble. There are many chains that I have gotten rid of, many that I no longer carry with me, but I still have several large ones that don't seem to want to let go.  Maybe the truth is that I cling to them as much as they cling to me because I'm so used to having the weight of them around I'm afraid of what my life might be like without them.  So I settle for a life with too much weight, settle for the limitations those chains bring me.  Today, though, I have made my decision.  I'm going to see Christ this morning in the Mass.  I'm going to ask Him, not for silver or gold, but for the healing that I know He wants me to have instead.  If He doesn't answer me "yes" today, I am going to keep praying for it, and I'm going to believe that He will give it to me when the time is right.  I know He loves me. I know He can.  I know He will.  I won't settle for temporary fixes anymore. I want total healing.

Where in life have you found yourself settling for temporary fixes because you've given up asking for what you really need?

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