By Christine Caine
It’s hard for someone who is supposed to have it all together to admit that she needs help. But that’s exactly what I had to do. Hurting people hurt other people. I was hurt, and because of that, I hurt Nick and who knows how many others. If I was to stop hurting and instead find wholeness and healing, then I needed to forgive those who had abused me. But I also needed to go farther: I needed to trust Nick, who loved me, and I needed healing in my relationship with God.
I grappled with this idea for weeks after Nick and I talked in the driveway.
Here I was teaching students how to trust God in their daily walk, and now I had to learn to do that myself at a whole new level.
My questions were so big that I took them to a counselor. Though the walls around my heart had been pounded, they were still standing. I would never be free from the haunting memories and old feelings of shame, self-condemnation, anger, bitterness, and mistrust until I determined to make new memories and embrace new feelings such as peace, kindness, and compassion.
The process of breaking free and walking in wholeness starts within. God tells us to bear with one another. Bearing means there will be pain to endure. The healing process ahead of me would take the touch of God’s hand, as well as deliberation and work, and no elixir I could sip or pill I could pop would take away that process.
Healing, for any of us, doesn’t happen overnight. Even when Naaman, a valiant Old Testament army commander who was stricken by leprosy, sought a cure, he was told to dip seven times in the muddy Jordan River in order to be healed. He couldn’t go to a prettier river with cleaner waters and just dip once. He had to get in the Jordan and bathe there again and again and again—seven times. Such a clear picture of how healing is such a messy process, but a choice he had to make.
So it is for us. If we trust God with our broken and wounded hearts, then he will bring healing, restoration, and wholeness. He takes the weak, the marginalized, and the oppressed and makes all things new. What someone else would leave for broken, he sees as beautiful. He sees us beyond where we are; he sees us as who he created us to be. That’s the pattern of God I see in his Word. It’s the pattern I see in the story of the lame man who was begging at the temple gate. People had walked by him for years, giving him money or ignoring him, but when Peter and John walked by, God reached out to him, just like he was reaching out to me.
One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the
time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. Now a man who was
lame 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
do 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.
The man who was begging had been lame from birth. When other babies were taking their first steps, he did not. When other kids were running and playing, he could not. When teenagers were working alongside their parents, learning a trade, he could not. His muscles would have been atrophied, his limbs shriveled, distorted. Much like our souls are from the time we’re wounded.
We know from this passage that he was dependent on others to carry him from his home to the temple area, up 15 steps to the gate, and place him there in front of it. He was laid daily at the temple gate. The routine was set, the plan was set, the system was set, and everyone acted according to the expectation. When we expect and accept that this is how things will always be, we build our lives around daily rituals that enable and ensure the life we have settled for.
Because of his condition, he was not allowed to enter beyond the gate. He was ostracized, marginalized, discarded, and overlooked. He was someone society would have seen as ugly and labeled undesirable. The people entering the temple to pray at three in the afternoon would have noticed him—every single day.
God chose to put the story of someone like this—someone who physically wasn’t easy to look at—in his inspired and holy Word, and the story took place in front of a gate called Beautiful. What irony.
That gate was a one of a kind. Unlike all the other gates around the temple, which were plated in gold and silver, this one was made of solid, brilliant Corinthian brass. It was magnificent and massive, an unusual size of more than 60 feet wide, more than 30 feet tall. Its weight was so great that it took 20 men to move it. It gleamed in the afternoon sun, outshining all the others. It was strategically placed between two courts. The first court, where everyone entered, was inside the wall surrounding the temple—the holy ground of the outer court. On the other side of the gate called Beautiful was the inner court—the place of prayer and worship, the place of the presence of God.
The lame man was doomed to stay there, sitting outside against the massive doors of the gate, sentenced to a life of brokenness, until Peter and John came along. Until God extended to him an invitation.
The lame man asked for money.
Peter responded, “Look at us!” He sought to dignify, value, and humanize this man by asking him to look at them.
And the man had the courage to look at them, to look up. To change his perspective from being low to the ground, staring at his misery, to looking heavenward, where healing and miracles come from.
“Silver or gold I do not have,” Peter said, “but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”
I love this story because it shows that we often overestimate what people can do for us and underestimate what God wants to do for us. The man asked for money. Peter offered him healing. The man wanted a short-term solution. Peter offered him what he really needed—not pocket change but a life change.
Isn’t that like God? To take what is ugly and make it beautiful? To reach out to us right where we are, where we seemingly don’t fit in, and heal us? To see beyond our crippled brokenness to all the potential he placed inside us?
When Peter told the lame man to get up and walk, the man obeyed. He made the effort to rise up. To move forward in faith. That’s all God ever asks us to do.
“Instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk.”
Then he stepped foot where he’d never been able to go before. “He went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.”
God cherishes us in our brokenness, but he’ll never leave us there. He sends people—like Peter and John, like Nick—to notice us and show us his unconditional love. And then, as he heals us, he uses us to touch others: “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.”
When the people saw the man and recognized him, a crowd gathered. It became the perfect opportunity for Peter to preach, and the man was used as a witness unto the power and person of Jesus.
Our healing is always for more than just us. It’s for all the people on the other side of our obedience. When the man looked up, he obeyed, undaunted, and he was healed. The result: multitudes came to Christ.
Isn’t this the same work God was doing in me? Isn’t this what he wants to do in you? He wants to lead us all through the gate called Beautiful, right into his presence. To put us on the path to our destiny, to fulfilling our calling. To free us to live undaunted. So multitudes can be helped.
You have a calling to fulfill. Are you ready to take the risk of moving past your past to fulfill it?
Christine Caine faced hurdles that seemed insurmountable—abuse, abandonment, and the loss of a child. Yet she decided to answer God’s call on her life no matter where it would lead her. Many times, the only thing that kept her going was knowing that she was God’s beloved. She was God’s chosen. Secure in those truths, she moved beyond her pain so she could live the adventure of bringing God’s light and love to others around the world.
In Undaunted, Christine challenges you to embrace the reality of God’s love so you can speak it to others as you live out your own unique calling. As Christine writes, “Love like Christ’s can lift you out of betrayal and hurt. It can deliver you from any mess. Love like that can release you from every prison of fear and confusion. And love like God’s can fill you up till it spills out of you, and you have to speak about it, share it, spread it around.”
You already have all you need to bring hope to others. With additional biblical teaching, new stories, and a new epilogue, this revised edition of Undaunted will awaken you to how God wants to work through you and in you as you dare to become who God created you to be. Learn more at ChristineCaine.com.
Christine Caine is an Australian born, Greek blooded, lover of Jesus, activist, author and international speaker. Together with her husband, Nick, she founded the anti-human trafficking organization, The A21 Campaign. They also founded Propel Women, an organization designed to celebrate every woman’s passion, purpose, and potential. Christine and Nick make their home in Southern California with their daughters, Catherine and Sophia. Learn more at ChristineCaine.com.