Luke 13:10-1310 Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. 11 And behold, there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” 13 And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God.
Who of us doesn’t want to be healthy? While some illnesses take time to heal with some good eating, sleeping, and exercising habits, others require more attention through dedicated medical treatment. In these times, our attention turns to prayer asking the Lord to comfort us, to help us, possibly to perform a miracle, but yes ultimately to heal us.
As we read this story of Jesus healing the crippled woman who had been suffering for eighteen years, I can’t help but ponder the following: Did the woman ask Jesus for healing? Did she know who he was? What had she been thinking for the last eighteen years in her predicament? Did she pray for healing?
We all know people who have suffered with illnesses for a long time, and we have been praying for them. Perhaps we have ourselves been physically ill for a long time and have yet to see a full breakthrough despite our persistent prayers. Is God hearing me? What we know for sure is that he sees us, just like he saw this woman. But his watchful care is one of those mysteries that through my illnesses in life have shown that the act of “long suffering” is not indicative of God’s unwillingness, powerlessness, unresponsiveness to our prayers, or even uncaring attitude towards us.
If anything, his watchful care has been in motion from Creation, throughout Scripture with the ultimate climax at the cross. What kind of suffering did Christ endure for the greatest ailment of my life – that is my own separation from him? How greater the suffering if I were to be eternally separated from God! Yet Jesus took it all, some 2000 years ago at the cross so that ultimately, whatever physical suffering I may have now, would be fully restored when I am with him one day in Heaven.
So while we continue to pray for physical healing in this lifetime, we can be fully assured that we will have complete restoration when seated with him. In the meantime, the reaction of the healed woman in this short passage leaves me once again pondering as she “immediately straightens up and praises God”: How often do I praise God for his healing or continue to praise him in the midst of my circumstances?
Father we want to thank you for healing this crippled woman. We thank you for all those you have healed since then in history. I also want to learn to be a patient sufferer for you Lord. And so strengthen me Jesus as you carry me through this difficult time. Thank you for taking my pain at the cross. May my heart be turned daily to praise whatever the circumstances. My current suffering shows me how much you love me to have suffered the ultimate pain. Because of this, I now have eternal life. Thank you Jesus. Amen.