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Topic: hope (03/29/04)
TITLE: Beyond All Hope!
By Donna Haug
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By: Donna Haug
Oh, how his bones ached! It seemed that the days he had spent sitting on his mat in this gateway were innumerable and the hours endless. People were busy rushing to and from the temple with pious and yet frazzled looks on their faces. No one would take the time to talk to a poor lame man, but in their religiosity they would often drop a coin or two into his outstretched hand. He was tired. The mid-afternoon sun beat down on him and made him feel incredibly sleepy.
He jolted from his uncomfortable slumber as he heard the crowds arriving for the prayer meeting. Surely someone in this crowd would have pity on him and give him some money. It had not been a very profitable day so far!
The rushing feet and flapping robes hurried by him on the way to church. No one even glanced down at him. His heart sank as he considered another night without a bite to eat.
Suddenly, he realized someone had stopped! He looked up expectantly hoping that whoever it was would be generous. His stomach was already growling from hunger. His eyes met the frank gaze of two men. He remembered seeing them before. They used to hang out with that Rabbi, Jesus. How he had hoped Jesus would have stopped near him one day and reached out his hand to heal as he had done to so many others. But he was gone now. That dream lay dead in the dust. Surely, these men would give him enough to get a good meal at least! The two men glanced at each other and then down at the lame man. They stood there so long that he thought that any minute they would reach down deep in their moneybags. This was going to be his lucky day!
The big, burly man gazed at him with eyes filled with such tender compassion, the lame man did not know what to think. When the great man spoke at last it was only to cause his heart to sink low. “Silver and gold I do not have …” Great, the lame man thought. So what does he think? Is pity going to fill my stomach? But then the man continued in his booming voice, “…but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk!” The cripple was stunned into absolute silence. Could it be? Could he dare hope again - after all these years?
A large hand reached down to him. His eyes moved from the hand, slowly up to that face full of love, and back down to the hand again. Hope welled up within him as he reached out his hand and took hold of it. In the name of Jesus, he thought. As he was lifted up, immediately he felt his feet and ankles gain a strength they had not had in all his 40 years! His face beamed as he took one tentative step after another, faster and faster. Before he knew it, he was running and jumping and laughing. Weaving through the amazed crowd in wild abandon, he praised God who had seen fit to give him, not the little he had been begging for, but what he had not dared to hope – that which he really needed!
“And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You.” Ps. 39:7 (NKJV)