Forgotten by God?
Have you ever felt forgotten by God? You see others around you being blessed, whether physical, financial, or some other sort of blessing–but not you. You feel forgotten. Things are tight, you may be sick, or heartache may be pressing in on you. You may be asking as you see others being blessed, “What about me, God?”
I had a moment like that several years ago. I longed for a child. With my whole being, I wanted a child. Yet, for an unknown reason, we were being prevented from having children. As I came to church one day, a friend of mine came waltzing up and announced she was expecting her second child. She was excited, but inside I was dying. As we began praise and worship, tears streamed down my face as I cried out to God, “Why not me, Lord?” I waited for an answer, and silence seemed to answer back.
On top of that, I felt guilty for even questioning why the desire of my heart hadn’t been granted. I knew it was wrong to question why God wasn’t granting me a child, yet I couldn’t seem to help the emotional turmoil I was experiencing.
The Forgotten Crippled Man
I believe another person went through a similar experience, albeit on a greater scale in Acts chapter three. A man, crippled since birth, was taken daily to the temple gates to beg for his living. As I read this story, it struck me how this man may have cried out, “why?” as well. After all, so many others had received miraculous healing by the hand of Jesus. Even a man born blind had been healed by Jesus. If Jesus could heal a man born blind, couldn’t He heal the cripple?
During the last week of His life, Jesus spent most of His time preaching and teaching in the temple. I’m guessing as Jesus walked in and out of the temple each day, this crippled man hoped for a miracle in his life. It could be that Jesus even walked by this man, and yet no healing came his way. What must have that been like? Did he ask, “Why not me, Jesus?”
No Miracle for Him….
Day in, day out for almost a week, Jesus was in the temple. This crippled man probably waited expectantly for a miracle. Either Sunday or Monday, Jesus cleared the temple of the money changers and those who were trying to make a profit off of the worshipers. The beggar probably saw this clearing of the temple with his own eyes. Yet, no miracle from Jesus came his way.
Then, Jesus taught in the temple courts. It says in Matthew 21:14 that Jesus healed the blind and lame in the temple, but still this beggar was not healed. Once again, no miracle. Tuesday passed, then Wednesday. Jesus taught and healed in the temple again. But for this beggar, nothing came his way. It appeared that Jesus had either ignored or forgotten him.
All Hope Was Lost?
Friday came. Maybe today. Maybe Jesus would heal the crippled man today. But Jesus never came. Something was afoot. The city streets outside the temple were alive with crowds shouting. What was happening? As more people rushed out of the temple, I imagine the crippled beggar grabbing onto the robe of man exiting the temple. “Sir, sir! What is going on? Please tell me?”
Annoyed at being stopped, I imagine the man answering hurriedly, “It’s that Jesus fellow. He’s going to be crucified! The Romans are leading him out now along the streets. Now, let me go so I can see!”
I imagine the poor crippled beggar sinking into despair as he let go of the robe. Jesus would be dead in just a few hours. The chance for a miracle was gone. There would be no healing for this crippled man.
I imagine his realization at that moment that he would spend the rest of his life in this miserable spot in the temple, begging to keep food in his stomach. As the sounds of the madness of Jerusalem filled the streets with cries of “Crucify him! Crucify him!,” I see the beggar bowing his head and weeping bitterly.
It’s Not the End of the Story
Jesus was gone. Weeks, or perhaps even months passed. There had been rumblings in the city that Jesus had risen from the dead three days after he had been crucified, but others said Jesus’ disciples had merely stolen the body. Who knew what was truth? It didn’t matter for the beggar, because there was no hope left for him. All he knew was that Jesus was gone, and he had been forgotten. But just when it seemed like all hope was lost, everything changed one afternoon in the temple.
“One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.
Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.”
Acts 3:1-10, NIV84
After a few moments of amazement, the beggar himself realized something. He had not been forgotten.
Not Forgotten After All!
The beggar received the miracle he thought was never coming. Not only were his legs healed, he knew how to walk and jump and run. This is a learned skill that takes months for a child to master, yet this man was instantly able to run and jump in the power of the name of Jesus. It was an incredible miracle.
Crowds came running as they heard the screams and whoops of joy the beggar made. They saw him dancing and jumping. Could it be true? Had this man just been healed?
It was true, and after a few moments of amazement, the beggar himself realized something. He had not been forgotten.
Jesus hadn’t ignored him, it just wasn’t his time yet. A greater purpose was destined for this cripple. As it turns out, our crippled friend was appointed to be the one who would show all of Jerusalem that Jesus was still alive. In the name of Jesus, he was healed. All those in the temple saw this incredible miracle. The beggar had been appointed to be proof to all who knew him that Jesus was alive, and even more powerful than ever before. A beggar no more, our friend was evidence that Jesus was exactly who he claimed to be–the Messiah, the Savior, the Son of God.
This beggar may have believed he had been forgotten or ignored, but it was all in the timing. As Jesus had entered the temple that final week of His life and passed by him as he longed for healing time and time again, I wonder if Jesus, with a quiet smile on His face, thought to Himself, “Just wait, my friend, a little longer. Wait and see what I have in store for you.”
Destined for a Greater Purpose
Through this one miracle, the church nearly doubled in size. This “forgotten” man was the means through which God used to grow His church. This man had been destined for a greater purpose. If Christ had healed him in the temple the last week of his life, the beggar would have been merely a foot note in the long line of people Christ healed during his time on earth. Instead, this cripple, because he had been “forgotten,” was a major player in helping to birth the early church.
So, the next time you feel forgotten, remember the beggar. It could be your time has not yet come, or maybe God has a greater purpose designed for you that is outside of your perceived desires.
Such was the case for me. God had a perfect time for our first child. In His perfect timing, He made us wait to give us time to launch our children’s ministry. If we had been given a child in my timing, it would have hindered the infancy of our national ministry. And as I had tears streaming down my face that Sunday morning, I wonder if God looked down on me and said, “Wait, my child, I have a greater purpose set aside for you too.”
So, the next time you feel forgotten, remember you may be “forgotten” for a greater purpose.
God may have something special in store for you as well.
For further study, read Acts 3:1-4:4.
How did God use this cripple to bring many to Himself?
How many came to faith in Jesus according to Acts 4:4?
How can God use a trial you are going through to bring others to Christ?
Are you willing to wait on God’s timing so that His work may be accomplished in you?
If so, write out your commitment to allowing God to use you in anyway. Place your written commitment in your Bible as a reminder to trust God and His timing.