«When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, ‘Woman, you are set free from your infirmity’ » (Luke 13:12, NIV).
One Sabbath day, as Jesus was teaching in a synagogue, completely hunched over. Luke describes her illness by using a Greek word that literally means «completely doubled over.» The woman probably suffered from some kind of chronic arthritis in which the affected vertebrae are joined together. The Bible says that she had been crippled for eighteen years. She had been unable to see the sun by day or the stars by night for eighteen years! This woman had been bent over, filled with pain and looking down at the dust for eighteen years. I am moved by what happened on that day: as soon as Jesus saw her, probably while He was still preaching, He called her. The woman had not asked for help or even said a word; however, filled with compassion, Christ stopped what He was doing and told her, «Woman, you are set free from your infirmity» (Luke 13:12, NIV). She immediately stood up straight and began praising God.
How many times had that woman gone to the synagogue before her encounter with Jesus? I doubt that the enemy cares whether we go to church every Sabbath or not, as long as we are not healed. Neither does he care whether we read our Bible every day or not, as long as we are bent over by the weight of our guilt. Sometimes we are under the wrong impression that God will save us because He feels sorry for us and not because He loves us. We believe that when He sees us, His stomach turns over with disgust; that He puts on gloves before touching us so that our filth will not get on Him. However, the Bible tells us that we capture His heart with just one glance (see Song of Solomon 4:9), that He loves us and sees inestimable value in us (see Isaiah 43:4). God is the father from the parable who runs to embrace his son while he still smells like sewage, before he even gets to take a shower (see Luke 15:11-32).
God looks at us just as He looked at that crippled woman; His gaze is filled with tenderness and love. Even if we don’t dare to ask for anything, even if we can’t look Him in the eye, Jesus comes to our rescue, He helps us. No matter how heavy the burden of our past may be, or how deforming our sins are, He says, «Woman, you are set free from your infirmity!»
Dear Lord, please reveal Your love to me once again!
Help me by faith to see how You bend down to touch my bent-over life, setting me free from the weight of guilt and fear. My past and my mistakes no longer define me. My identity depends on Your love for me.