Looking Up…

“On a Sabbath, Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, 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.  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: 10-13 (NIV version)

There’s a woman who walks regularly in our neighborhood.  She obviously has severe spinal problems – I assume osteoporosis – as she is very bent over and walks very slowly with her eyes focused on the sidewalk in front of her.  I see her from my window sometimes and always feel a twinge of pity, though I admire her dogged persistence.

I thought of her recently when I read this chapter in the Gospel of Luke.  She could have been this “daughter of Abraham”, as Jesus calls this woman  (verse 16).  It’s an amazing scene: Jesus sees this woman’s suffering, approaches her and declares that she is set free from her infirmity.  Then he so tenderly and compassionately lays his hands (those carpenter hands which will be riven with spikes before very long) on her.  Just his touch brings healing power into her body.  She is able then to do something that’s been impossible for her to do for 18 long years – straighten herself and look up.  Up to the blue sky, up to the majestic trees and the birds winging in the air. Up into peoples’ faces, and up into the beautiful Face of her deliverer.  Amazing to imagine.

Oh, my Savior!  Please lay your merciful Hands on my loved ones, those precious ones who have been “bent over”, with their gaze fixed solely on earthly things.  Touch them, Lord (though they may not even know their need) and somehow by your love and power, call their names and help them to hear your voice.  And bring that “straightening” of their souls, that they might see and recognize their Healer and glorify God.  Amen.