Even things that are not supposed to bend will bend if put under enough pressure. A Shatterproof ruler, if constantly bent a certain way, will eventually stay slightly bent and out of shape. Life can do that to us: enough pressure, applied consistently, affects us and leaves us bent out of shape.
Luke 13:10-13 NLT “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!”
The Greek word for bent double meant to be overcome or to stoop down low. This woman was so bent over; she could not straighten her back anymore. She moved around looking at the floor, unable to function as she should. She was not able to look up, her vision was limited to the ground, she didn’t have a big picture. Her physical appearance matched her spiritual appearance, when she was bent down:
- She was not able to grow. When you are constantly facing down, your cannot grow in vision, ideas, capacity, all her growth was negative.
- She was not able to look ahead. Those who cannot look ahead have no hope, are discouraged and appear cynical and angry.
- She was not flexible or agile, or able to adapt to her circumstances easily.
- She couldn’t live as she was supposed to, it was difficult to move forward, or aspire to more in her life.
- She was not able to serve God as she had limited capacity.
The longer she was bent over (it had been eighteen years) the more it was affecting other areas of her life. She was on a downward spiral, finding it more and more difficult to look up.
Her condition was a result of sin and the activity of Satan in her life. His primary goal is to tempt us and get a foothold in our lives, a license to influence our lives and hold authority over us. (Eph 4:26-27) He will manipulate life and circumstances so that we become trapped, victims, sick and weighed down by responsibility.
Sometimes, just living life has us all bent over. We may be sick, feeling the weight of our responsibilities. We may be under great pressure or burdened by past hurts and negative experiences. Even condemnation from others, or guilt can have us so burdened that we cannot look up anymore. Lessons we can learn from this passage:
- Jesus cared and was immediately filled with compassion and called her to Him. God does not want us to live bent over and I believe this woman knew this too. She was in church, like she always was because she knew where her breakthrough was going to come from. God works amongst His people and if we want to straighten out our lives, the best place to be is in church with God’s people.
Heb 10:25 NIV “Let us… not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
- She responded to Jesus’ calling, even though all the people in the synagogue were watching, she risked embarrassment and humiliation and responded to Him. This was her time and place of healing, she wanted to be straightened out and she was willing to draw close to Him. We too need to be willing to draw close to the Lord to receive our healing. His Word promises that when we draw close to Him, He will draw close to us. (James 4:8)
- Jesus touched her and she was instantly straightened out. When Jesus touches your life, you cannot stay the same, there is immediate change. As we draw near to God and He touches our lives, we need to make the changes He asks us to make in our lives, we need to be obedient. Psalm 145:14 “The Lord upholds all who fall, and lifts up all who are bowed down.”
Jesus refers to her as “daughter of Abraham” He reminds her that despite the fact that she was looking at the ground for so long, He knows exactly who she is. Perhaps she had much pain in her deformity, children made fun of her and perhaps a husband rejected her. Perhaps after many years of this, she began to think less of herself. She saw herself as hopeless, a failure, a cripple, defeated. Jesus calls her “daughter,” how affirming was that! He reminded her who she is: She is a child of God and He is her Father. She can stand up, put her chin up, look people in the eye; she is a child of God. If God is for her, who can be against her. (Romans 8:31)
- Her response is to praise Him and give glory to His name. She praised Him for years as she visited the synagogue, and now her first response to healing is to praise Him yet again. Praise is the hope of those waiting in faith and the natural expression of a thankful heart. She would be living her life from now on, glorifying His name.
1Cor 10:31 NIV “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
We are not designed to live our lives bent over. God wants us to stand straight so that we can keep our eyes focused on Him, the author and perfector of our faith.
Thank you Father that I need not live my life bent over in a negative, downward looking way. Thank you that you are the lifter of my head, the One who will straighten out my life. Help me to listen to your voice calling me, help me to respond and draw near to you so that I may experience your touch and have You straighten out my life. In Jesus Name.
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