Rise up and walk

When I was a youth, I regularly attended my home church with my high school sweetheart. We were inseparable, literally. We would lock one arm around each other’s waist and walk side-by-side throughout the church hallways, Sunday school classrooms, fellowship hall and sanctuary.

One of the deacons, a tall, balding, friendly man with a big smile and large handshake would often comment on this by making jokes. Our pastor finally had to intervene by directly explaining that it was okay to simply hold hands.

This past Sunday, my daughter Rhaylee and I braved floods and rain to attend that same church. We had our typical entrance and introductions. The old men teased her shy demeanor. She excitedly showed her Sunday School teachers her new belt with heart-shaped buckle. And I settled in to sound checks and the fun of joking with my musical friends on the praise team.

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The sun began to peek out as I attended my own Sunday School class with a topic on missions and testimony, taught by a meek, retired teacher, coach, and principal from my old high school. He’s always been one of my favorites.

Rhaylee and I were reunited to attend worship. She then went to children’s church led by one of my high school classmates.

The sun was fully awake as I listened to a Spirit led message preached by Brother Darrell Blaine. Chapter three of Acts describes the healing of a man who was never able to walk before in his life. He was begging in front of the Temple Gate called Beautiful and asked Peter and John for money.

Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Verse 6 NIV

Peter reached out his hand to lift the man up. Immediately the man received strength in his legs and was able to walk. And run. And jump. And celebrate. And worship.

Bro. Darrel asked the congregation, “With whom do you identify the most?” For me, it was not Peter the missionary. It was the man healed.

Many have commented on my weight loss. Some comment on all my hard work and how proud I must be. Others comment on how much better I must feel. And many praise God.

I must say, for me, the most difficult part was asking for help.

The rest was easy.

I have been healed.

I have been restored.

I can diet without cravings. I can fast without losing hope.

I can choose one tablespoon of peanut butter instead of half a jar.

I can choose lean chicken and turn down barbecue.

I can choose water and turn down Dr. Pepper.

I can choose salad and turn down pizza.

I can run and jump and bicycle and hike.

And I can enjoy my daughter’s company.

Celebrate with me.

And when you are ready, ask for help.

Maybe then I can identify with Peter. Maybe then I can reach out my hand to you.

God will take care of the rest.

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