What Do You Expect?
By Toby Crowder
Acts 3:6-7 “Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.”
We all have expectations… things that we not only hope for but fully anticipate. I remember reading about the student who consistently failed to meet the expectations of his teacher. After one particularly frustrating assignment, he said to his teacher “I am not an under-achiever, you are just an “over-expecter.” Speaking of humans, it certainly can lead to disappointment if we “over-expect,” but when considering what we expect from God, we learn that He has never been, nor will He be found inadequate to meet our need! The Psalmist said in Psalm 62:5 “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.” God owes us nothing… yet, in grace and mercy, He makes salvation available to us and blesses us! Many times, we do not realize the blessings that we forfeit by expecting too little from a God who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.
In Acts 3:6-8, Peter and John are seen going to the Temple to pray when a beggar asked them for money. He was a crippled man who sat outside the Temple courts begging each day. He sat daily in the splendor of the Tabernacle, in the gate called Beautiful, yet he was destitute. This man was daily in the temple, but not to offer worship… he was simply trying to provide for himself. His circumstances were tragic to him… but we all have circumstances that we would change if we could. While we may be whole physically, other situations are beyond our control…possibly a failed or failing marriage or relationship, or trauma from a past event that happened. Maybe it is an addiction that no one realizes… a sin that has its grasp or a situation that makes us feel bound by our circumstances.
Even though he asked them for alms…they replied with a strange request… “Look on us.” Notice that Instead of opening a purse and dropping a few coins towards the man, Peter said…” Silver and gold have I none;” … When the beggar heard this, I am sure his heart fell as once more his plea was being ignored. But then he heard Peter say, “but such as I have give I thee.” and he commanded the man in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth to get up and walk! The man was miraculously healed and left a completely changed person. He had asked for alms, but he was given healing. I wonder…like the beggar, How many times do we ask God for temporary fixes and short-term solutions rather than for His intervention in our lives? Have I asked for physical or material things when I should have been expecting the richness of the spiritual blessings that God intends for His children? Could it be that his desire was limited by his conditions? He had been bound by this illness for so long, that he could not imagine being freed from it and only desired enough to survive another day.
How many of us settle for the day in… and day out of our lives? We do not expect anything more because we cannot see past our circumstances. We do not ask for healing, because we expect pain…We do not ask for change, because we expect the status quo. We do not ask for light, because we expect darkness. We do not ask for revival, because complacency has us bound to our routines. Instead of “over-expecting” our circumstances have conditioned us to do just the opposite. May we realize, as the beggar did, God can not only send help…but healing. The old prayer still rings loudly today that says: “I asked God for strength that I might achieve. I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey. I asked for wealth that I might do greater things. I was given the infirmity that I might do better things. I asked for riches that I might be happy with. I was given poverty that I might be wise. I got nothing I asked for, but received everything I hoped for.”
Toby Crowder serves as Pastor of Mt. Carmel Baptist Church in Spruce Pine. He and his wife Leslie have been married for 26 years and have two daughters, Emilee, and Katy. He can be contacted via the church’s website MCfamilyforChrist.org or email@example.com
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