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Through Your Hands – Part 1
One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.
Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.
(Acts 3: 1-9 ESV)
This story is called “Peter Heals a Lame Beggar” in some versions of the Bible. You may be familiar with it. There are several lessons we can learn from this story:
- The boldness of the faith of Peter and John
- The way Peter and John exhibited obedience to God and Jesus by going out and praying for healing in the name of Jesus
- The gratefulness of the man, giving thanks and praising God, and sharing the story of what had been done for him
However, the verse that stood out to me in this story was verse 7:
Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong.
I noticed that Peter EXTENDED his right hand, HELPED the man up, and then the man’s feet and ankles became strong.
In this healing story, it doesn’t say that the man’s feet and ankles became strong and he leaped up on his own. Rather, it says that AFTER Peter took him by the right hand and HELPED him up, then “instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk.”
When I read this, I immediately got the image of someone in my life to “take by the right hand and help up.” I have a family member who has been through a long season of difficulty. They are in need of healing and God to work in their life, though the need for healing is not physical, like the man in the story.
I have prayed for this person for many years. I have tried to help in many ways. Sometimes I have been frustrated. But as this family member is becoming a more regular part of my life again, God is impressing upon me to “take him by the right hand, and help him up” so that he will “become strong, jump to his feet, and begin to walk.”
The man in the story had his physical feet and ankles strengthened, as they form the foundation of standing and walking physically. But we can also think about the “feet and ankles” in this story in a broader context, representing other foundational elements of our life, such as our emotional health, mental health, or the health of our relationships with God and with others.
For the person that I love, who is in a difficult season of life, it’s not the physical feet and ankles that need to be made strong, but rather the foundational “feet and ankles” of mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
Is God Trying to Work Through You?
Does someone come to mind in your life whose “feet and ankles” need to be made strong?
Often we pray for God to heal people and situations, which is good to do. But sometimes, while we are waiting for “God to take care of it,” we are not paying attention to God prompting us to take action. God may want you to be involved in the miracle, close up. God may want you to take action like Peter did.
Who Needs Your Right Hand?
How about you? Think and pray right now: Is there someone in your life that needs some form of healing or to be guided by God through a tough season of life?
Is there someone you are supposed to take by the right hand and help up? Is there someone that needs to be helped by you, on the way to a miracle?
Reach out your right hand and help them. God often wants to work His miracles THROUGH us, so that we can be part of it. When we let God work through our hands, we also grow closer to God and closer to the other person through it and we get to experience His power and glory close up and tell others about it. Our stories of how God works in our lives and works through us are meant to be shared, just like Peter did.
Later in Acts 3 and 4, Peter shares this man’s testimony and it brought many people into a relationship with God. If we continue to pray and obey the promptings of God to take action to help people, God can work through us as well.
We will be there to see the ways God moves in people’s lives, producing stronger faith in God and testimonies to share with others to strengthen their faith as well, just as Peter did.
And his name—by faith in his name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all. (Acts 3:16 ESV)
God wants to work through your hands to help others…
will you let Him?