It’s hard enough keeping the faith in good times, but keeping it when the cross is heavy can become unfathomable. There is this woman in the Bible whose name we do not know, but whose cross is so heavy, she has been permanently bent. She can only see the ground, the dirt. She can’t see the sun shining or the leaves glistening with water drops. Her faith has impressed me so much that I wrote a letter to her, or maybe my letter is to you. Whatever the case may be, faith and courage define her.
And there was a woman who had had a spirit of infirmity for eighteen years; she was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. And when Jesus saw her, he called her and said to her, ‘Woman, you are freed from your infirmity’. And he laid his hands upon her, and immediately she was made straight, and she praised God. (Luke 13:11-13)
Your Story of Faith
I am reading your story and wondering how you were made to bend. I also wonder how heavy it must have been for you to not be able to straighten yourself, to see the sky, to see people smile, to look toward the future. And even further, I wonder just how strong you truly were to be able to carry that burden for eighteen years and not give in to sorrow, not choosing death over life.
My Story of Faith
Sometimes, as a Christian woman, I expect my life to be burden-free, carefree, and happy. But my expectations rarely coincide with my reality. Many times, like you, I am carrying such a heavy load that I cannot look ahead to see the road ahead, to see that eventually, things will be ok. I can only look down and see my feet, and their current position, and wonder if I can take the next step.
What were you carrying? The death of a spouse? Were you caring for a sick child, spouse, or parent? Had you been abandoned, discarded, or rejected? Were you being abused, used, or overworked? Were you burdened with anxiety, depression, or illness? What caused your load to be so heavy? How were you able to carry it for 18 years?
Jesus Sees You
I question being able to go on when I’m having a bad day, a bad week even. Yet you continued to stand up, even though you could barely carry the weight, and walk. Woman, you must have known that this would eventually pass and your burden would become light. You weren’t seeking Him, but He saw you, He saw your strength, your burden, and your willingness to take the next step despite your condition. He saw you, Woman, and with his own hands, he freed you, lightened your load, restored your joy, and strengthened your faith. Praise God, Woman. Praise God!
Faith and Courage Like Yours
I ask the Lord for faith like yours, for the courage to keep walking forward, and for the strength to carry my cross as long as God sees fit. I will continue to put one foot in front of the other and keep the faith. My prayer is that I will live with hope like yours because I know that He sees me, just like He saw you. I know He wants to heal me as He healed you.
In the meantime, I too praise God, not just for you, but for all the women who have been able to carry heavy burdens without losing hope. Praise Jesus for each one of them! I also pray for those that have lost faith, that have lost hope, and those whose courage falters at times, that they may know that Jesus sees them too. May they find strength in God and in your story. You represent all of us faithful women who continue the journey despite it all. We will overcome with God’s grace. In Jesus’ holy name, I pray.
Your Sister in Christ,
The Bible never gives this woman a name, other than the woman that was bent. The Bible states that she was afflicted with a spirit of infirmity. We don’t really know what the infirmity was but the damage it did was there for all to see. Sometimes our afflictions are not that visible. How can people see our suffering, our depression, our pain? The good news is that Jesus saw her. Jesus called her. He healed her. She, who was in the synagogue already to pray, was healed! Take the next step. Keep the faith. Go to God. I assure you that He sees you.
Take Action Today
How can you apply something from today’s reading to your own life? What changes do you want to make?