Acts 14:8 In Lystra (where apostles Paul and Barnabas were teaching) there was a man sitting who could not use his feet and had never walked, for he had been crippled from birth. 9 He listened to Paul as he was speaking. And Paul, looking at him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, 10 said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And the man sprang up and began to walk. 11 When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in human form!”
This passage captures my attention this morning, particularly verse 9 in which the apostle Paul sees that a man “crippled from birth” has “faith to be healed”. Then Paul tells the man to get up – and he does so, to the amazement of all present.
There are other places in the bible where “faith” and “healing” go together. The idea being that some measure of faith for healing may be required for healing to take place. Sometimes faith is with the person being healed, other times faith is with the person asking healing for someone else. Does this mean there is a direct causal relationship between faith and healing? If faith, then healing? I can’t say that. But there does appear to be a relationship of some kind.
In terms of the man in this story, we can expect some measure of faith would need to be present because it was clearly up to the man to decide if he would attempt to get up – something he had never done in his entire life. That in itself was a brave thing to do. I can imagine all sorts of doubt and questions entering the man’s mind as Paul directed him to rise. It must have been like someone telling you or me to jump to the moon. Impossible. But Paul saw something in this man that looked like faith, and Paul knew that all things are possible with God. So he challenged the man, the man stood up, and his life was changed forever – as were many of those who witnessed this event.
I used to have a small plaque in my office with the picture you see above. It says, “You’ll always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Not sure whatever happened to it. I must have lost it in one of my several moves over the years. Nevertheless, I originally bought it because I needed to be reminded to resist the temptation to avoid failure. I don’t like trying and failing. I’m guessing you don’t either.
But the truth is, if we’re not willing to risk the pain of failure, we’ll never know the joy of success.
I’m going out on a limb here folks, but I’m guessing that – for at least some of you – opportunity knocks. The Lord has placed before you the possibility of something new that could be a blessing to you and/or others. But there is risk involved. What if it doesn’t work out? What if, in attempting to stand, you fall on your face? I can’t answer that. But I do know this. If you never attempt to stand, you never will.
Lord Jesus, give us grace to trust you when opportunity knocks. Overcome our fear and doubt that we might be blessed – and be a blessing to others. We ask this in your holy name. Amen.