Beth's message was on Acts 3:1-10, when Peter and John saw the lame man begging at the temple gate.
The beggar doesn't have a name, so it easy to put ourselves in his place. We may not be lame of foot and unable to walk, but we are all begging for something, whether it is love, security, strength, success, etc.
I most frequently find myself longing for friendship and validation; also for freedom from my blue or grumpy moods (which at times even sink into depression). I have a loving family which provides 90% of the friendship and validation I need, but that last 10% still leaves me longing.
Which is just proof to me that human beings are never completely satisfied. No matter how much we have, we always want more. Beth's point is that when we try to rely on other humans (or material things) for our fulfillment, we never will stop begging. We must look to God to fill that hole that no one else or no thing can fill.
Beth's next point was that sometimes we beg for the lesser thing we need. The beggar needed to walk, but he'd been lame his whole life, so he didn't think to ask for that. He was begging for food or money. We learn to support ourselves in our infirmity rather than asking for freedom from infirmity.
"Fixing his eyes on him, Peter said, 'Look at us.' So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. Then Peter said, "Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have, I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk."
Part of our own healing involves helping others. Beth asked us to rephrase Peter's declaration in our own words:
"I do not have much money. But what I do have, I can give. I have a tender heart brimming with compassion for those who are hurting. I have a heart to teach young children (and my children) about all the wonderful things in God's Word. I long more than anything to share the wonderful things God has done for me and taught me, and I think He has gifted me to share them through telling or writing stories."
Beth pointed out that a "fixed, intent gaze" is used 10 different times in Acts. Instead of focusing on our needs, we fix it on someone else in need.
This is what I want to learn: to see when a hand is needed (or a listening ear) - to be fully present for another person who is in need. To be able to push past my own comfort zone (e.g. selfish zone), to find a common ground, and not miss opportunities to listen, help, and possibly share my stories of God's grace.
God can use our healing to make others want to find their healing through Him, but we cannot ever force healing on others, or expect them to be healed in the same way we were.
Near the end of the conference, there were prayer volunteers available. I have never done this before at other conferences, but this time I went down and asked for prayer for Joy who is fighting cancer and for my dad who has Parkinson's. The lady put her hands on my shoulders and prayed for Joy and Dad and prayed for me, too. Afterwards I thanked her, and then asked, "is there anything I can pray for you?" She admitted that she was still struggling with the death of her adult son, two years ago. I was stunned. She has suffered a devastating loss, and yet she was there volunteering to pray for others, even strangers.
She was "living proof" that part of the healing process is reaching out to help others.