Have you ever listened to someone share a story and you’ve thought to yourself, “Get to the point already.” They go on and on about random details that don’t seem to matter. If you’re telling me about how you met your husband 17 years ago, the specific time and song that was playing on the radio probably doesn’t matter. But some people really don’t know how to put a story in a nutshell. And you know it when they say, “to make a long story short.” Hey, listen to me, 97% of the time when someone says, “to make a long story short”, they don’t know how to keep it short and it’s already gone on too long. You’re going to get more information than you need and you’ll likely get a little lost along the way.

Now, when it comes to your Bible, long stories are kept short. One encounter with Jesus would be an entire best selling book, and instead we read about it in a single paragraph. Many details are left out for the sake of not losing our attention. How sweet of God to get to the point and keep it short.

However, when studying our Bible, it’s important to remember, there’s always more to the story than you read. You have to read between the lines and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the details and feelings that apply to you today. Don’t just speed read the story, slow down and imagine it fully. What you will find is a lesson that applies to you today.

Let’s practice together today. Take a few minutes and read Acts 3. In my Bible, this story is titled, “Healing of a Lame Man.”

Verses 1-10, “Now Peter and John were going up to the temple for the time of prayer at 3 in the afternoon. A man who was lame from birth was being carried there. He was placed each day at the temple gate called Beautiful, so that he could beg from those entering the temple. When he saw Peter and John about to enter the temple, he asked for money. Peter, along with John, looked straight at him and said, “Look at us.” So he turned to them, expecting to get something from them. But Peter said, “I don’t have silver or gold, but what I do have, I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk!” Then, taking him by the right hand he raised him up, and at once his feet and ankles became strong. So he jumped up and started to walk, and he enter the temple with them – walking, leaping, and praising God. All the people saw him walking and praising God, and they recognized that he was the one who used to sit and beg at the Beautiful Gate of the temple. So they were filled with awe and astonishment at what had happened to him.”

Now, let’s dig deeper. Let’s read between the lines and find more in this story.

First, get the visual. This gate outside the temple is not just an ordinary gate. It is the Beautiful Gate, literally. It is 75 feet tall, made of solid bronze. It is the massive entrance to the temple where people would gather to pray. It was customary to give to those in need on the way to the temple, so the gate was the gathering place for anyone seeking spare change.

But don’t you know, God is interested in more than spare change, he is interested in soul change! He wants to create a change in you that cannot be denied, and he wants to use that change in you as a display of his undeniable power to everyone around you.

Now this man who was born unable to walk was over 40 years old. And we’re told that he was carried there each day to beg from those entering the temple. This is the same temple Jesus himself had gone to just weeks earlier. Jesus had likely walked through this exact gate. And if this man was carried there every day, odds are Jesus had passed right by him.

Matthew 21:14, “The blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them.” So, why hadn’t Jesus healed this man when he was there?

I want you to imagine for a moment being this man, laying by the temple every single day, begging for a little change, and one day Jesus shows up and heals people just like you, BUT NOT YOU. Imagine seeing others get their miracle, but not you. Why are you left still begging and waiting? Why couldn’t Jesus change your situation when he so clearly changed others?

And maybe that’s exactly how you feel right now. Other people have gotten what you’re still begging for, so why were you overlooked? If God has the power to do it for everyone and you’ve seen him do it for someone else, why won’t he do it for you? You’ve heard those love stories of the girl finally finding the man who could love her so perfectly … but why not you? You’ve heard about people with your exact same illness being miraculously healed, but why not you? You’ve heard about God showing up and providing in the wildest ways, but why hasn’t he shown up for you?

Could Jesus have passed by this man before? Could he have chosen not to heal him? Could this man have been left out when others were healed? Absolutely. But why?

Everything God does and doesn’t do is for the perfect timing for the greatest glory. There’s always a much bigger story unfolding. We only see the current page in our present chapter, but God knows the whole story and he’s not rushing to get to the end. God is not willing to waste a single opportunity or miss one detail.

Jesus always knew about this lame man laying at the gate called Beautiful. Remember, Jesus is God in the flesh. They are one. God created this man. God knew every detail about him. He wasn’t overlooked. He wasn’t forgotten. He was left still waiting and begging in the weeks after Jesus had come to the temple and healed others, and he was waiting for a greater purpose. It was for the greater glory of God that Jesus would heal this man from Heaven through Peter and John. We need to see that Jesus doesn’t have to personally be seen for his power to be at work. He heals from Heaven, and he does it through us!

So, yes, Jesus likely had walked by this man at the gate before. And no, Jesus didn’t heal him when he was there, he left him waiting. Waiting but not without purpose.

My sister, you are still waiting because there’s a greater purpose? There’s a bigger story. Let’s read between the lines.

When Jesus came to the temple, they saw his miracles, but they did not come to believe in him. Scripture says they were indignant, meaning they were annoyed, irritated and angry. But now when Peter and John come to the temple a few weeks after Jesus, they heal this one man and something huge happens. Acts 4:4, “Many who heard the message believed, and the number of the men came to about 5,000!”

Could this man have been left waiting for healing because God had bigger plans to use his later healing for the saving of thousands of lives? YES!!!! And could you be left still waiting, not because God has overlooked you, but because God has bigger plans for things you can’t even imagine? YES!!!! My sister, your story is part of a bigger story. Have faith in God’s perfect timing to show up for you, then use you for his glory.

Now, let’s dig even deeper. Remember, you’re getting a very long story made very short, but the Holy Spirit wants to show you more.

This man was begging for money to just get through the day, and there’s no fault in that. There were no government programs to assist him. They had no special jobs for those who couldn’t walk. The only thing he could do was beg. But God can do more than make our current condition more bearable, he can radically change it! This man would have settled for a little change that day to buy his next meal, but what God had in mind was a big change so he could earn his next meal.

We would all be so quick to settle for a little change to make our current conditions more bearable. But God wants to change something within you and empower you to live like you’ve never lived before. Are you up for that change? Are you up for never sitting where you’ve been stuck before? Are you up for being strengthened to show up different? Are you really ready to be rid of all your excuses? Not everyone is ready for that, so really consider what you would do if your excuses were stripped from you and you have absolutely no viable reason why you can’t show up in life. If you’re ready for that, God’s got something for you!

One more aspect of this story I feel the Holy Spirit is prompting us to see is the details of the healing. It’s so interesting that the word translated “feet” only occurs in this scripture. It is never used anywhere else. It was a word used to differentiate between parts of the human heel. The phrase “ankle-bones” is a medical term also found no where else. The phrase “leaping up” describes the coming suddenly into socket of something that was out of place. This is literally a medical description of what happened for this man. The power of God put what was out of place into place.

What’s out of place in your life? Do you need God to suddenly put it into place? GOD CAN DO THAT!!!!!! He can take what has always been out of place in your life and put it right where it needs to be so that you can do what you’ve never been able to do before.

And maybe he’s never put it into place before, but it’s not because he can’t. He knows exactly what needs to happen, and he knows precisely the right time for it to happen. Trust him. Call out to him. Tell him you’re ready, and always remember, there’s more to the story. More to YOUR story and God is working in every page of every chapter.

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