Listen to this devotional:
Acts 14:9-10 – He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed and called out, "Stand up on your feet!" At that, the man jumped up and began to walk. (NIV)
I once had a friend who worked as a detective in the Scottish police force. He was trained to observe people during interviews, in order to tell whether or not they were lying. Small movements of the eyes, mouth, and hands were general indicators that something was wrong, deceptive, or false. For instance, people usually smile when they are lying — not a broad smile, just a mere flicker of a smile. Whenever my friend saw this in the interview room, he recognized a lie. I found that fascinating and promised myself never to play him at poker.
What I also find amazing is Paul's response to the crippled man in today's passage. What does he see in the man's face, eyes, or body that makes the apostle realize that the cripple has enough faith to be healed? Was it a look of desperation or devotion? Was it a glance of expectancy or exhilaration? And does this passage prove that if we don't have the same kind of faith, we cannot ever be healed? This is a puzzling thing to me and very mysterious. It makes me wish that I had the same gift of discernment as Paul, so that whenever I saw anyone with that kind of faith, I could help with their healing.
The look of faith is something that our world desperately needs right now. I mean a genuine look of faith, a look of hope, kindness, expectancy, and compassion. It's too easy to be religious and severe; it's far more difficult to be faithful and patient, but that is what our crippled, broken, and shattered world needs right now: a look of hope, a look of faith, a look of love.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us to see the needs of other people before we focus on our own. Enable us to look for love amongst the lost and to find hope with those who are helpless. Give us compassionate hearts and faithful feelings, so that we may act as real Christians in the world. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.