Have you ever played a version of this game: If you could have any superpower what would it be?
My answer usually depends on whether flying would require exerting much physical effort. After all, I hate running, so would I really like flying? The other question I usually have is whether this superpower is innate or learned. It seems like most superheroes and heroines must learn how to use their newly discovered powers.
What about the man in this story?
He was born without the ability to walk; he depended on his friends and strangers to help him get around. When he asks Peter and John for money to get by, Peter looks into his soul with near X-ray precision. Like granting the man a new superpower, Peter gives him a greater gift of charity than any coin he could offer. Without missing a beat, the man jumps to his feet and begins walking and leaping.
Remember, he hadn’t become paralyzed as an adult after a tragic car accident; he wasn’t a veteran wounded in war. This man was never able to walk. Which means that not only was he healed of his affliction, he seemingly skipped right past the toddling phase and straight into the long-jump competition.
The reality is that he probably fell down a number of times in all the commotion, maybe like a wobbly newborn giraffe learning to stand. But after a lifetime of being unable to get up through his own strength, there may have been as much dignity in his rising up from his exuberant stumbles as there was joy in his walking.
This is a good reminder for each of us: sometimes our greatest strength is learning that we can get up when we fall.
What was a moment when you discovered your own superpower of resilience and courage?
Holy Spirit who raised Christ from the dead and the disabled man from his mat, raise up courage in us so we’ll keep trying even when we stumble. Amen.