When my dad developed a chronic lung condition called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), I hoped and prayed that God would spare him from the sometimes severe effects of the disorder. Some COPD patients go several years before needing supportive oxygen, but as a heavy cigarette smoker, my dad went only a couple of years. It was painful to watch him deteriorate, but before the condition became too severe, he passed away from injuries sustained in a car accident.
Have you had the experience of watching a love one suffer from chronic illness? Perhaps they had a condition such as severe arthritis, fibromyalgia, heart disease, or cancer. Maybe that someone is you?
Though chronic illness is hard, tiring, frustrating, and just plain overwhelming at times, our Savior is a healer. Over and over in the New Testament are stories of Jesus healing – the young, the old, individuals, groups, Jews, and Gentiles.
From these stories we can gleam all the ways in which Jesus healed – physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Let’s take one of those stories and breakdown the elements within the story to see these various levels of healing unfold.
Luke 13:10-13 (NLT) states:
One Sabbath day as Jesus was teaching in a synagogue, he saw a woman who had been crippled by an evil spirit. She had been bent double for eighteen years and was unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Dear woman, you are healed of your sickness!” Then he touched her, and instantly she could stand straight. How she praised God!
Have you ever felt trapped by your physical or emotional state? Do you feel hopeless to resolve the issue? Jesus is our healer, and what He touches no one can reverse.
I relate to this story of the woman crippled by an evil spirit. There have been times in my life, I have been crippled, engulfed, and overwhelmed by my emotional and physical flaws. Trapped by feelings of insecurity, fear, loneliness, and low self-worth. Trapped by feeling that I am not pretty enough, not tall enough, not slim enough. Gripped by an evil spirit that wanted me to feel less than worthy, less than adequate in regards to my Savior. Jesus constantly flips the table on such things, just as He does in this story.
In the short 3-4 verses that reference her situation, we learn a couple of things about her:
Then Jesus, being the compassionate Savior He is, notices her. He sees something inside her that is worth redeeming, and immediately He goes into action! Notice He “called her over.” She didn’t come to Jesus until He called. Is Jesus calling you?
Then He proclaims, “you are healed of your sickness.” Imagine how those words must have rung in her ears. Her heart must of leaped in that moment. Do you think her faith began to rise?
So here’s a question for you –if Jesus can speak anything into existence, why did He not stop there? She was healed right? He said it was so. Why then did He reach out and touch her? I believe Jesus is all about relationship, not just an acquaintance, but a personal, concrete relationship! And so, He touched her. It doesn’t get more personal than that.
“Instantly she could stand straight.” I would love to know what she saw first from her new vantage point. Was it the crowd? Was it Jesus’ face? Or maybe, it was the synagogue leaders?
Whoever or whatever she saw first, doesn’t compare to her reaction: “How she praised God!” Can you see her thank Jesus over and over? Can you see her almost dance around? Can you imagine how many people she stopped to tell her good fortunate on the way home?
I hope you see the pattern:
Whatever you face today, remember your healer! No matter the circumstance, no matter how much time has passed, don’t give up on believing in His power. One day, He may call you over, speak to your condition, and release you from what “binds” you. Then how you will praise God!
Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.