44. WALKING AND LEAPING AND PRAISING GOD

Sometimes God comes through for you or blesses you in such a way, that you feel the need to shout what he has done, from the housetops. Like the man in the Bible who was lame from birth, who Peter healed in the name of Jesus Christ and through HIS power, when God in his mercy, comes through for you, remembers you and reaches down from heaven to help you, you feel the need not just to walk but to JUMP and praise God.

You care not for who may be around or how it all looks or whether they think that you’ve lost your mind. For, you alone know what you have been through and the years of pain that you have endured thus far, in life’s journey.

That poor lame man who was in his disabled condition since birth, knew what it was to be begging practically all of his life. He knew what it was to be in need and to not have, to be hungry and not be able to provide for himself. He knew what it was although human, to be stripped of his dignity, to be at the complete mercy of others to give him something in order to survive and to survive to do what? To beg another day.

This poor man probably knew what it was to be considered to be insignificant, to be treated with scorn and contempt by many, to be ignored, brushed aside and considered to be nothing more than a beggar, a reject of society, to spend all his days begging people to give him something, anything, so that he could get by. He probably knew first-hand what it felt to feel utterly useless, hopeless, to have limbs but not be able to use them, to want to work for a living but to not be able to and to have to be carried from place to place by others.

When he begged Peter and John on that fateful day at the gate of the temple therefore, hoping that he would receive money from them but instead, received strength in his limbs, so that he could get up and move about on his own and walk, he was exuberant!

Understandably, he understood that he had been given something far more precious than money. He had been given something he had never experienced before. He could walk!

The Word of God says in Acts 3:1-10:

  • “Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms. And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. 
  • 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. 
  • And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and LEAPING, and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God: And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him.”

This true story is so beautiful. It brought me to tears this morning. For, sometimes, in our own life, we may be disabled (although not physically) by life’s circumstances. We may feel trapped, unable to move forward, weak and overwhelmed by our condition, which seems to be characterized by endless sterility. Everybody it seems, around us, is up and about and making headway, while we, despite our best efforts remain in the same place and condition. We are powerless to move forward, powerless to make any meaningful headway in life, in our own strength. No matter where we turn, we feel caved in, suppressed, stuck in an airtight box of adversity.

The story with the lame man reminded me of how, when we are in forlorn and seemingly forgotten situations, unable to help ourselves and nobody else on earth is able to help us in any meaningful and sustainable way, how God sometimes in his mercy, shows up and in his goodness, blesses us beyond measure, so much so, that we want to give him the highest praise, as an outpouring of our deep-felt gratitude.

We don’t just want to walk and praise him but metaphorically, we feel the need to JUMP as well. We take our praise to a higher level than perhaps the person who is used to having good things happen, takes it. Why? Because unlike that person, we know that if God chooses to bless us, we cannot take one ounce of it for granted. We’ve had too many days of rain, not to appreciate sunshine.

People, beholding the sight of a man, formerly lame, not just walking and praising God but leaping about in his excitement and elation, may have thought to themselves: “Why can’t he just walk and praise God? Why does he have to do all that? Why does he have to jump as well?”

Yet, just as that lame man, when we have been through what we’ve been through, which only almighty God knows, we too feel motivated to jump to the ceiling, if we can, to give God praise. Knowing what we have been through, out of hearts of immense and heart-felt gratitude, we walk yes but we also LEAP and we give public praise to the one to whom public praise is due.

We are not overdoing it, in the least. Indeed, our measure of praise, though it may seem endless by some, could never equate to the extent of what God has done for us. He is worthy of even more. He is deserving of even more.

What is truly beautiful about this story with the lame man is that when we take our praise to such a level, where we don’t just walk but we leap, so-to-speak, people take notice. They can’t help but see the extent of the miracle, consider it and know that it had to be God that wrought it. Given our previously helpless and forlorn state, they understand that it had to be HIM that came through for us (nobody else), that it was HIM that delivered us and did such a wonderful thing for us. They gain insight as well into the extent of the miracle by the extent of our praise. They get a glimpse into the pain that we may have been carrying for so many years and how deeply thankful we are to the Lord, for bringing us out of what he brought us out of and mightily so.

Like the Psalmist David once stated, our heart echoes the following sentiments:

  • “I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. AND HE HATH PUT A NEW SONG IN MY MOUTH, EVEN PRAISE UNTO OUR GOD: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.” (Psalm 40:1-3)

This public praise and at a level where we go all out, pulling out all the stops to shout our gratitude, in the loudest manner possible and to the highest and most excellent height possible, points all the praise to almighty God and his Son Jesus Christ, where all the praise belongs.

This is my desire. For every blessing that God grants me after my storm, for every good gift he bestows after years of sterility and stagnancy, pain, rejection and feelings of helplessness, I desire to praise God and not to conventional, expected levels but even more. My soul desires to make my boast in the Lord and to do so with excellence because he is an excellent God.

When God brings us out of oppression, suppression, any kind of bondage, hardship, sterility, barrenness, problem or storm, may we, knowing first hand, the kind of pain we have been through, not just be content to enter into his presence “walking” but may we, metaphorically, take it to the next level, where we are also seen to be “leaping” and praising God!

Isaiah 41:17-20 is befitting to close. In this scripture, through the Prophet, God himself stated:

  • “When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together: That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the Lord hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it.”

(Written on 02nd July, 2022)

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