I’m in my third pregnancy, and it is by far the most exhausted I have ever felt. And that has been super tough for me – physically and mentally. I hate sitting still and feeling lazy, feeling unproductive all the time. I hate being dependent upon other people.
It makes me feel weak. And it makes me feel like a “bad Christian” for not doing more in this season.
I’ve been wrestling with this as I’ve been reading through Acts, a book of the Bible that is filled with outrageous demonstrations of God’s power. Like every time before, I’ve always read it from the perspective of what God can do through his people, what God could do through me, should I allow His Spirit to reign. And then I would feel worse about needing a nap every afternoon and collapsing into bed the second after putting my kids down. Why wasn’t God’s Spirit energizing me? Or was it, and I was just too tired to notice?
I found myself identifying with a man named Aeneas. In Acts 9, we’re given just three little verses about him.
The apostle Peter had been traveling, and he came to the town of Lydda to visit the believers. He was preaching the Gospel, and new people were coming to Christ, but he also took time to be with people who already believed in Jesus. And since the next verse introduces Aeneas, I can only assume he was one of the believers. And he was paralyzed. In fact, he had been bedridden for eight years. Which means, that for eight years, he was forced to sit still and undoubtedly felt lazy and unproductive. For eight years, he was dependent on other people. For eight years, he would have felt weak and very well could have felt like a “bad Christian” for not contributing more to the growing church.
But God saw him.
God brought Peter to him, and Peter calls on the name of Jesus, bringing this man to his feet for the first time in almost a decade.
“The whole population of Lydda and Sharon saw Aeneas walking around, and they turned to the Lord.” (vs 35)
Aeneas didn’t have to be productive or important or anything special to be used by God, to be seen by God, to be loved by God. So it is with us.
As humans, we will walk through different seasons of life. Sometimes, we’ll have more capacity and more ability to serve. Maybe we’ll be sharing our faith with unbelievers, or maybe we will be encouraging people within the church. But we’ll also have times when we might need a little help. And while that may make us feel weak, God reminds us that then we are strong, because He is strong. And His power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
Regardless of whether I am filled with energy, assisting in multiple ministries and dishing up 5-course dinners for my family (although, let’s be real, that never happens anyways), or I am propping my eyes open with toothpicks and barely able to serve cereal, God’s love doesn’t change. His power doesn’t change.
I won’t be pregnant forever. Aeneas wasn’t paralyzed forever. Like everything in this world, it is all temporary. The only thing that will remain forever is eternity, God, our souls. Regardless of the season of life that we are in, we can still worship and praise the name of the Lord, the God who sees us and loves us no matter what.
Stepping In: What do you learn about God from this passage? In what ways does seeing God work in the lives around you influence your own decision to turn to him?
Journeying Further: There are numerous passages throughout Acts where leaders in the early church are encouraging the believers. In what ways do you encourage fellow believers? How have you seen God use your decision to encourage believers to also bring new believers to himself?