“Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the sabbath.
And a woman was there who for eighteen years
had been crippled by a spirit;
she was bent over, completely incapable of standing erect.
When Jesus saw her, he called to her and said,
“Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.”
He laid his hands on her,
and she at once stood up straight and glorified God.” (Luke 13:10-13)
Eighteen years. Whoa. Can you imagine her suffering? The demon had caused her such pain and grief that her whole body was crippled under the weight of it all. She couldn’t even stand up properly.
There is so much we can learn from this woman.
First of all, she was in the right place. She was in the synagogue, the Lord’s house. She was praying. The woman turned to God for healing. We don’t know her full story, but I would imagine it would’ve been tempting for her to have given up long ago. She could have become bitter and angry. She could’ve let what other people were saying about her and thinking of her eat away at her heart: she could’ve believed the lies that she was worthless, hopeless, not wanted, unwelcomed, inadequate. Yet she showed up in God’s presence. She put herself in a position to be found. She prayed. She let herself be vulnerable before the Lord, coming before Him as she was, brokenness and all.
She allowed Jesus to heal her. Do we allow Jesus to heal us?
Then, when Jesus cast the demon out of her, she immediately glorified God! She gave Him all the glory for His goodness and faithfulness. She was unafraid and unashamed to praise God for her healing, even though the synagogue leader and the crowd were furious with Jesus for healing her on the sabbath.
Jesus heals the woman with compassionate, tender care. He sees her. He knows her. He calls her “woman,” intimately acknowledging her dignity as God’s daughter when she probably didn’t feel very confident in her womanhood. He lays hands on her, an act not just of healing but a physical sign of His love. He knew that she needed to know she was deeply wanted, seen, and beautiful. He doesn’t define her by her suffering, but by who she is in Him.
God made us, body and soul. Sometimes when our souls are sick and hurting, our bodies can become physically ill, as with the crippled woman. While you may not have suffered from something for eighteen years, we all have things that cripple us. Maybe you’re going through a particularly difficult season of life right now that leaves you feeling like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. What is crippling you? Does a situation in your life right now seem hopeless? Has your heart been hurting for a long time, so long that it feels like the darkness won’t end? Whether it’s sin or a wound or both, bring that to Jesus today. Do not be afraid to step into His presence and reveal your whole heart to Him. He sees you. He knows you. Ask Him to heal you. He surely will, in His perfect timing and goodness. He so desires your healing. Sometimes we have to take the courageous step to lay it all bare before Him and let Him in. Put yourself in a position to be found. God is faithful.