Today I listened to a message about Peter and John going to the temple and healing the lame man (Acts 3), and was soon lost in my thoughts about the man they healed. He had probably given up praying for healing; he'd been that way since birth. But he did spend every day begging for money, for his needs to be met. And this day, instead of giving him what he wanted, God gave him what he really needed. He begged for money; God gave him legs that worked.
Yes, it seems like it would be better, but for the man, it would have sucked. His life was comfortable. He had his routine, he knew what he needed to do to get through the day; but when he was healed, everything changed.
He now had to provide for himself; he no longer had a reason to beg.
He'd have to find work, but his only skills lay in begging.
He'd have to learn a new skill, but he was 40 years old--hardly in the position for such a thing to come easy!
I wonder if, at the end of the day, after having spent hours dancing for joy, this man sat down and said, "Oh, crap. What the heck am I supposed to do tomorrow? Why didn't God give me a job along with the use of my legs? Couldn't he have just left me alone?"
How sad it would have been if he couldn't rejoice and look forward to a more full life, just because this change would demand more from him, more responsibility, more faith that God would lead him down the better--although more difficult--path.
And this is where I find myself. I was comfortable. My faith was getting me by in the place I was. I knew what I could expect from God and others, and God knew what he could expect from me.
But God has given me what I needed rather than what I asked for--and oh, how I had been begging for what I wanted! Now I've reached the end of my day of rejoicing, and looking forward, I'm terrified to see a long road ahead, a road marked with learning hard lessons, hard work, hard change; a hard life. And I'm tempted to say, "What the heck, God? If you've brought me here, why didn't you make the way forward a bit easier?"
However, what am I supposed to do? Sit back down and continue begging? No, I've been changed in order to forge forward, along the difficult path, to discover strength I never thought I had and blessings I never would have imagined could come so intertwined with the pain.