The Upper Room Devotion for Friday, September 22, 2023, was written by Elly Cantrell Gilbert of Kentucky.
10 Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. 11 And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” 13 When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God.
Luke 13:10-13 NRSV
I have a chronic illness. When my disease is active, I look for anything that will provide me with a little relief. Before I had the necessary surgery and got on an appropriate treatment course, I was very sick for about a year and a half. During that time, I tried just about every over-the-counter option I could find to ease my suffering, and, of course, none of it worked. Fortunately, my illness has been in remission for about 10 years now.
I can't imagine suffering for 18 years like the woman in today's scripture reading. She was forced to go through life in pain, unable to stand up straight or to interact freely with people. In biblical times, the woman's disfigurement would have brought not only pain but also shame and stigma. And yet, Jesus saw her and called her to him.
The same is true for us. No matter what our struggles may be, Jesus sees us in our suffering and calls us to come close to him. Our healing may not be instantaneous like it was for the woman in this passage. But we can trust Christ to see us and, as we respond to his call, to set us free from the problems that trouble our hearts.
Pastor Anthony's Thoughts
For many enduring chronic ailments, Elly's reflection and today's scripture offers encouragement. For some, healing from their chronic ailments is possible through surgical means. For others, like myself, we manage our ailments with medication. Elly reminds us that "we can trust Christ to see us," granting us the strentgh and hope we need.
Healing God, may we never fail to praise you for the good works you do in our lives. Thank you for seeing us and for loving us, no matter what troubles we face. Help us draw closer to you every day. Amen.