It was my first day at a new job and I was a bit nervous. I took a deep breath and walked through the door. Unfortunately, it went downhill from there…
There’d been no office prepared for me. No desk was set up nor were there any supplies with my name on them. I didn’t know where to go. Who to talk to. My new leader wasn’t even in the office yet so I stood there by the door, uncomfortable and face burning with embarrassment as each person walked by. Not only was I left to fend for myself — I felt completely unseen. Unexpected. Unvalued in a place where I’d hope to find welcome.
You can guess how long that job lasted. I headed for greener, more engaged pastures not long after. And though it was quite a while ago, I still remember the let-down of that experience.
Being seen: it’s critical.
No matter the salary or the great opportunity with any job, it means nothing if we go unnoticed. I recall wanting to be a part of the action! I’d been excited to meet my new team and get to work. But with each person who walked by and each lunch I spent alone, I felt less and less a part of — anything, really.
“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.” — Acts 3:3-5 NIV
In Acts Chapter 3, there’s an incredible expression of Christ’s love. It’s such a blink of a moment that we may have missed it. But it’s there. Buried in black and white. Love, spelled out in five amazing little words spoken to a beggar on the temple steps:
Peter looked straight at him.
The context in which those words were spoken ups the ante on their significance.
The setting for our story falls in the time right after Jesus’ resurrection. The church was young. The disciples, having received the gift of the Holy Spirit were following boldly, without restraint, preaching and performing miracles in Jesus’ name. It’s here that we find Peter and John headed to the Jewish temple for their afternoon prayers. And at the door to that temple – at a place literally named Beautiful – was a man who lived in the complete antithesis to it. Lame since birth, he’d be laid on the steps to beg. Overlooked day in and day out. And while coins may have been tossed so passersby might feel better as they went to worship, there’s a clear indication that this beggar went largely unnoticed.
In truth, he was the unseen.
Insert Peter and John at stage right with Christ’s love in tow.
Prior to this moment, there’d been little to no time taken to invest in this man. No one cultivated love into who he was or would become. Except these followers of Jesus. They didn’t toss coins, but they didn’t pass by either. They recognized what he needed was more than a jingle in his palm. Instead, they looked him straight in the eye! They stopped –investing in the moment– and really SAW him. Maybe for the first time? It was as if he was known. And seen. And loved. And oh my goodness– validated as possessing some measure of worth in a place called Beautiful!
What happens next is really cool.
He obeys when these men tell him to look back at them. And yes, he obeys again when they tell him to rise up a walk. This man, past his forties in age, found strength restored to legs that had never been used before! And it all started with being seen. He ran right into that temple, proclaiming what God had done for him. (And you better believe everyone saw him then! How could they not take notice of miraculous healing like that?)
Have you ever felt like that man? Every time we find ourselves rejected, facing a fresh hurt, or deposited on a road that could leave us wounded and weak, we’re bound to understand something in the depth of that man’s heart. And I know all I wanted each time I’ve been on those temple steps starts with a look. It has to. If we’re honest with ourselves, we really long to be seen. And known. Invested in and valuable to someone.
Be encouraged today, friends. There are no steps, no situation that can leave us so wounded or sin-logged that we’d go unnoticed by God. He never walks by. Never tosses a coin and keeps going about His way. He stops. Kneels. He looks. And takes us by the hand to lift us out of our pain. And yes – we end up in a place called Beautiful. Over and over again, He heals the lame and showers grace on the hurting.
We’re never unseen, friends. He’s cultivating every look, every moment with us – if we’ll just raise our chin to meet His face looking down. May it shine upon you today.
In His Love,