When the Struggles of Life Knock You Over - Encouragement for Today - October 24, 2016
October 24, 2016
“When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, ‘Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.’ Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.” Luke 13:12-13 (NIV)
She heard His voice but couldn’t see Him clearly. The surrounding crowds had blocked her view.
Bent over at the waist and unable to stand up straight, she strained to get a good glimpse of Him. Then, unexpectedly, He’d called her forward.
I imagine her heart was racing as she slowly shuffled her way to the front of the synagogue.
Why would Jesus single her out of the crowd? Was He going to make a spectacle of her brokenness? Or expose her deepest pain and darkest secrets?
As the crowds around her murmured, each step toward Jesus felt as if she were lugging the weight of the world behind her.
For 18 years, her body had been crippled. Eighteen long, exhausting years.
She certainly had plenty of reasons not to go to the synagogue that Sabbath morning. Why subject herself to the possible harsh stares and hurtful comments? Yet she was there, listening intently to the teachings of Jesus.
She didn’t say a word. She didn’t try to get His attention. She simply stood in His presence, soaking in the life-giving statements that gave her hope in the midst of her hopeless situation.
But Jesus saw her. Jesus had compassion for her. Jesus loved and wanted to heal her. And in one swift statement, those 18 long, exhausting years came to a screeching halt.
“Woman, you are set free from your infirmity” (Luke 13:12b).
With the gentle touch of His hands, warmth flowed through her body, and she suddenly realized she was standing upright. She no longer strained to get a glimpse of Jesus … she now saw Him face to face.
With a burst of joy, bondage gave way to freedom and she exhaled in worshipful praise and adoration to her Lord. Her healer. Her bondage breaker.
Scripture doesn’t tell us her name, but I think we all can relate to this woman in one way or another. Maybe you see a small part of her story that rings true in your own life, connecting you though years separate. Could it be:
- An ailment that physically restricts your body and makes you feel weak?
- A spiritual battle keeping you in bondage to the enemy?
- An unwanted flaw that draws painful attention and hurtful comments from others?
- A heavy heart filled with shattered dreams and stinging emotions?
- A burden you carry, causing you to shuffle through life feeling alone, unwanted or disposable?
Whatever has made your life seem long and exhausting, Jesus can repair it by His powerful presence, His comforting words and His healing touch.
He loves you. He longs to be gracious to you. He rises to show compassion so you can stand upright again.
Assured. Secure. Enveloped in His comforting embrace.
You are never lost in the crowd because you have captivated Jesus’ heart. His gaze is always fixed on you.
He sees your pain. He’s aware of your affliction. He knows your struggles.
Like the woman in the synagogue, come as you are — with all that makes you feel less than. Draw near to Jesus, soak in His life-giving Word and wait expectantly to hear Him speak freedom over your situation:
“Woman, you are set free from your infirmity” (Luke 13:12b). Jesus did it for her … and He can do it for you too!
Lord, I come to You today and lay all my burdens at Your feet. Take the emotional and mental weight I’ve been carrying so that I can stand upright again. Draw near to me. Heal me. Free me. I want to live assured, secure and continuously aware of Your loving embrace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Isaiah 30:18, “The LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” (NIV)
Psalm 145:14, “The LORD supports all who fall, and lifts up all who are bent over.” (NET)
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
I would’ve loved to see Jesus miraculously heal that precious woman in the synagogue on that Sabbath day. It’s beautiful how her very first response was to praise God. How do you express gratitude for all God has done in your life? What are some things you can praise Him for today?
© 2016 by Leah DiPascal. All rights reserved.