Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Love Of Christ Goes Far Beyond Anything We Can Do

In Luke 13:10-17 we find the story of the crippled woman. I find the recounting of this woman's healing amazing. For eighteen years this woman has been crippled. She has been doubled over (vs. 11) and has not been able to stand straight for eighteen years. That is a long  time, isn't it? I think about the few days I may suffer with the flu or have a cluster migraine that is long lasting for months on end, but eighteen years? Many face trials all their entire life.

It tells us that Jesus was teaching in the synagogue. What it does not tell us is if this was a woman of faith who was within the hearing of His teaching or if she was a woman without faith. What is really interesting to me is the fact that He doesn't call her to faith before He brings healing. There is no mention of her coming to Faith before. It only shares that she glorified God after (vs. 13) Jesus has healed her. Another reminder that, "JESUS MEETS US WHERE WE ARE!" Jesus is alive and well in our lives whether we want to recognize His presence or not. He is still God whether we make the choice to believe or not. But He is willing to do the calling. The inviting. He is forever trying to get our attention. It is purest of love. The sweetest of all romance. He wants to have an intimate relationship with us.

We do not know her name. We do not know if she walked for those eighteen years in faith believing Jesus would bring healing or if she lived those painful eighteen years in anger over her condition. So, lets look at this as if there are two seperate women. One living in faith. Believing that Her Savior would bring healing through her faith in Him and the other, a woman without faith, living in pain and despair. Isn't this our choice? Each day we have a choice to live out our life, the life God has given us, in joy no matter what the situation or in anger over all that goes wrong in our life.

We often think that God is in our life when everything is going wonderful, but when bad things are happening we often feel as if He has left us and is absent from our life. This is just simply not true. He is present. He never leaves us. Just as in this woman's situation. Glory was brought to Him through her eighteen years of living in pain. Healing came through a Savior not expecting something from the woman, but only wanting to give. Only wanting to bless her. In that deep blessing God was made manifest in this great healing. It had nothing to do with the woman, but everything to do with Jesus.

Something else that catches my eye is the fact that she didn't seek Christ out. He sought her out. He knew exactly where she was and called out to her. He too knows exactly where we are today. He knows what we have been living with for years and what we too will face tomorrow.

It tells us that Satan had bound this woman for these eighteen years. She was held prisoner in her own body. So was her physical ailment caused by the sin in her life? It doesn't say. It doesn't say that because of the way she lived she was being punished. How many times do we feel that way when something happens in our life? We ask ourselves, "What did I do to deserve this? Why is this happening to me?" Maybe we should be asking instead, "Lord, what is it You are trying to show me through this trial?" Maybe even ask, "Why not me?" If God has allowed it to happen then there is great purpose in all that touches our lives. It isn't always that we have done something to cause our pain. Sometimes by allowing certain situations to touch our lives it is the only way God can get our attention or the attention of others. Just like this woman. Can you imagine what happens next? It doesn't tell us. But only says that glory was brought to God. Did she, now in her straight position, go out and tell everyone? Just by looking at her others would be able to see her healing. She would then be able to say, "It was ALL Jesus. I had NOTHING to do with it."

What I love is the fact that in her own torment she was bent over always looking down. Does that mean she only saw her situation? Does it mean she was downcast? All she could see was only what her eyes could vaguely view. But straight and erect, she is now able to see from a whole new view. She is able to see the very things she had been missing because of her lack of vision.

I too can be in this way. I can carry so many burdens that I am bent over from the load. Soon all I see is what is weighing me down. But once I realize I don't have to carry the load, I can lay it at the cross and then and only then when I release it all to Jesus can I truly see all He has for me.

What can I take away from this lesson? I cannot always control what touches my life. Sometimes illness comes, tragedy strikes, situations occur, but I don't have to focus on those things. I need to remain focused on my Savior and see the opportunity before me to allow Him to shine through my life. No matter if it is eighteen minutes, eighteen days, eighteen hours, or eighteen years. God is in control. He leaves nothing to chance. I am in His hands and there is no greater place to be.

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
James 1:2-4

"Jesus looked at him and loved him."
Mark 10:21a
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