"...and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all." Luke 13:11
Bent over. Broken down. Heavy laden with a burden. No, it hasn't been 18 years, but there are days when it's felt like that. How long have I wandered through life crippled? How long have I been oppressed by this burden? How long have I allowed this to keep me from "straightening up"?
There are all kinds of things one would inevitably miss if walking bent over. Hunched down, eyes toward the ground, not up. The amazing sky at sunrise or sunset. The tall trees stretching toward the heavens. The birds soaring through the air. Not to mention just missing the faces of the people who are all around.
Being weighed down to the point of being crippled. But of course! Being so burdened, so heavy laden, so overloaded - you can't move underneath it all. Being crippled by fear. Crippled by broken dreams. Crippled by fleeting hope. Paralyzed and unable to move.
But alas. The woman meets Jesus.
"When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, "Woman, you are set free from your infirmity." Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God." Luke 13:12-13
He saw her, He had compassion on her, and He set her free! Free of her ailment. Free of her burden. Free of her crippling weight. He reached out to her. He touched her. And it happened. Not because she had earned it, or deserved it. Not because she had even asked for it. But because He saw her need and He freely gave.
And in that moment she straightened up - loosed from her weight, cured of her ailment, healed of her disease, free. Free from all the weight she bore - for 18 long and I'm sure insufferable years - so that she might straighten up and see. See what's around her. See the beauty of His hands. See His love and grace. See His miracle at work in her life. And see HIM...and she PRAISED GOD!