Acts 5:12-16 has captured my pondering in recent days. In particular, verse 15. People who were sick were moving, or asking people to help them move out to the street so that the shadow of the Apostle Peter passing by might fall on them. Why did they want Peter’s shadow to fall on them? So they might be healed.
Now wait a minute – this Peter is the same one who left his fishing business, along with his brothers and partners to follow Jesus. He followed Jesus with such abandon that he couldn’t fathom the truth of Jesus’s words that He would be crucified. In fact, he disbelieved so much that Jesus had to respond, “Get thee behind me Satan.” (Matthew 16:23).
This is the same Peter who at the last supper said we’ll follow you to the end Jesus. We would never deny you, yet true as Jesus said, before the cock crowed Peter denied Jesus three times.
So why would those who are sick want this man’s shadow to fall on them?
Because as human as Peter was, he was also a man who followed Jesus with wild abandon, so much so that Jesus declared, “Upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18).
I like Peter. I can relate to Peter. He loved Jesus and he failed Jesus at times. But Jesus still used him and worked through him. In fact, Jesus had such a prominent place in Peter’s life that apparently His presence and power was displayed even in Peter’s shadow.
I wonder what people perceive as I walk by – what picture or truth does my shadow cast? May it be like that of Peter – that the person and work of Jesus Christ is known.
In early December I had foot surgery. Prior to surgery the Doctor told me that I would need about 2 weeks of no weight bearing and full elevation with icing to get the best results. He went on to say that I should be prepared to experience swelling for up to a year, especially as my foot is used more. He advised that the more I held to the first two weeks restrictions the quicker my healing would be. In truth, I would still need to elevate and ice after the first two weeks but not as fully.
I heard those instructions and thought I communicated them clearly to my husband. I also thought that I could work an alternative healing plan., which I also communicated. I had in mind that I’d stay home for 2 days from the office and then return in one of Jerry’s old wheelchairs that would allow me to keep my foot elevated and iced while moving about the office.
It didn’t take long after I was home and recuperating to realize my plan would not work. The Doctor’s plan was best and was what I needed to follow. Surprise!
That experience brought to my attention several situations in recent weeks and months where my expectation and my reality (or life in the present) do not match up. It has taken awhile, but I finally realized it is not my present that I need to adjust, but my expectations and attitude.
You see I set both myself and Jerry up to feel I would be further along than was reasonable. I was left feeling disappointed when I wasn’t. Then the doctor tells me he is very pleased with my progress and I am definitely on schedule if not ahead of schedule. Wahoo!!!
It’s good to have a goal and expectations to strive for. But for me I think I need to temper those a bit more with realistic expectations (not just in this area, but most all ares of my life) which would reduce a lot of frustration I suspect.
Funny, as I am writing this Jerry is listening to his Bible app. Truly at the same time as I typed the above paragraph I heard the app read, “Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourself . . .” Romans 12:3 NLT
Coincidence? I think not!