Monday, February 21, 2011

In Need of Healing: A Woman with a Sadness

Not long after that, Jesus went to the village Nain. His disciples were with him, along with quite a large crowd. As they approached the village gate, they met a funeral procession—a woman's only son was being carried out for burial. And the mother was a widow. When Jesus saw her, his heart broke. He said to her, "Don't cry." Then he went over and touched the coffin. The pallbearers stopped. He said, "Young man, I tell you: Get up." The dead son sat up and began talking. Jesus presented him to his mother.

Luke 7:11-15

In my quiet time I've been reading through and soaking up the gospel of Luke.  It's no secret by now- I'm a sucker for stories about Jesus and women. (Dr. Luke happens to contain the most, so I'm slightly partial to him.)  I don't know how this treasure had passed me by in years before, but I've had a hard time getting it out of my head and heart since I read it in my bathtub several weeks ago. 

I love the way The Message translation puts emphasis on this story.  The boy is described as "a woman's only son". The precious woman gets a sentence all her own- "And the mother was a widow."

This says so much. 

In this day and time a woman was solely dependant on her husband and when he died she would be dependant on her sons.  This poor woman had been left with no support.  Not only had she lost her family, but now she would likely be reduced to begging for food in the streets.

Jesus had chosen that day to pass through her village of Nain.  He stopped and observed as the funeral processional came in to sight.  He saw her- the mother, the widow.  His heart broke.  He reacted.  He gave

I am always amazed by the love and compassion of our Savior.  I said it last week and I'll say it again (and most likely again next week, too)- you are no different from this woman.  I don't know the details to your story and I don't know the outcome, but trust me- if your heart is breaking, His is breaking right along with yours.  You are His beloved child.  His treasure.

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me,

for the Lord has anointed me

to bring good news to the poor.

He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted

and to proclaim that captives will be released

and prisoners will be freed.

He has sent me to tell those who mourn

that the time of the Lord’s favor has come,

and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.

To all who mourn in Israel,

he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,

a joyous blessing instead of mourning,

festive praise instead of despair.

In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks

that the Lord has planted for his own glory.
Isaiah 61: 1-3

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

In Need of Healing: A Woman with a Sickness....

On the other side of the lake the crowds welcomed Jesus, because they had been waiting for him. 

Then a man named Jairus, a leader of the local synagogue, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come home with him.  His only daughter, who was about twelve years old, was dying.

As Jesus went with him, he was surrounded by the crowds. A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding, and she could find no cure. Coming up behind Jesus, she touched the fringe of his robe. Immediately, the bleeding stopped.

“Who touched me?” Jesus asked.

Everyone denied it, and Peter said, “Master, this whole crowd is pressing up against you.”But Jesus said, “Someone deliberately touched me, for I felt healing power go out from me.” When the woman realized that she could not stay hidden, she began to tremble and fell to her knees in front of him. The whole crowd heard her explain why she had touched him and that she had been immediately healed. 

“Daughter,” he said to her, “your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”

Luke 8: 40-48 (NLT)

Two people were in need of healing that day-

The first was Jairus, a synagogue leader- a Jewish leader, at that.  How extraordinary that a Jewish leader would fall down at the feet of a man most Jews thought to be a big hoax.  You can imagine the scene this would have caused.  The crowd surrounded as Jairus begged for healing for his daughter and grew larger and larger as they headed towards his house.  Row after row of people, shoulder to shoulder, elbowing each other for a closer view.

There was another in need of healing that day-

A precious woman, who had known nothing but loneliness and pain for the past twelve years of her life.  She had a bleeding condition.  She was unclean.  Her heart ached for a touch.

So she pressed through the crowd, this woman with a sickness.  I don't doubt at all that her sickness had caused her body to become weak and feeble, but still she found the strength to push through. 

She believed in Him.  That he could heal her.  Though the scriptures said that anything or anyone she touched would become unclean like her, she knew He was different.  She knew she could trust Him to heal her.

"Who has touched me?"  Jesus asked.

Trembling, she fell to her knees before him and spilled out the details of her life.

Not only had she touched his cloak, but also his heart. 

"Daughter," he said to her, "your faith has made you well.  Go in peace."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Let's take this story into a modern day setting and make it a little more personal. 

We live in a day and age where medical technology would prevent us from suffering physically as this woman did- and if we did happen to have a problem with hemorrhaging we wouldn't be considered unclean.  We could continue to live with our family, go to church or the grocery store and hug friends without the fear of making everything around us from people to furniture unclean.  (Leviticus 15:19-28) Still, I find that so many women walk around as if they were bleeding and unclean.  I know all to well, I used to be one of them.
Do you feel as if your heart is bleeding and it just won't stop? 
 Has it been torn, broken, abused, shattered? 
Does that make you feel lonely, isolated, ashamed, weak? 

Perhaps we have more in common with this woman than we care to think.

I first taught on this woman this past fall.  I am pretty smitten with all of the women in the bible, but this sweet lady was not on my list of favorites.  Her story made me uncomfortable.  After a week of fighting it, I gave in to the notion that I was to teach on her.  I began to study her story and she (along with my sweet Savior) changed my heart once again.

With everything riding against her, she found the strength to push through the crowd and reach out to Jesus. 

I casually mentioned it before, but let me lay it out for you- the law stated that whomever she touched would become unclean.  That meant by touching Jesus she would make him unclean.  At a certain point in my life, I feared the same thing.  It seemed as if all of my issues and sin would be too much for Jesus- that a touch from me would make Him unclean

There is many a debate about why Jesus asked who had touched Him.  He is God after all, shouldn't he have known?

I personally like to think that He just wanted her to share her story aloud.  He wanted a crowd of people to know that His power and grace could overcome such issues and that He is our healer.

You are no different from her, sweet friend. 

I pray that you will find the strength to push through the obstacles in your way and fall at the feet of your Savior. Tell him your story,  pour out your heart and you will find healing.

"Daughter," he said to her, "your faith has made you well. Go in peace."

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Woman with a Past

In six short weeks I will be a mother of two little girls, so naturally I am a big ball of tenderness, nostalgia, anxiety and hormones.  As the day of having a pair of sisters approaches, I find myself replaying my life over and over in my mind like an old fashioned movie reel. 

The days of my early childhood are filled with sweet memories and it thrills me to give my girls the gift of sisterhood.  The memories of my teenage years are full of rebellion and lost innocence.  Honestly, as a mother, I pray every day that my girls will not choose the same path that I did.  Life got worse in my early 20's as I let the guilt, shame and sadness of my teen years overtake my mind and actions. 

So here's my question to you-

What's in your past? (You don't have to answer that aloud...)

Is is filled with sickness?  Sadness?  Scandal?

I'm pretty sure we've all got a good mix of the three. 

“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet,  they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool." Isaiah 1:18

Over the next few weeks I will be blogging about our Redeemer.  We will look into the pages of the New Testament and study how He dealt with a variety of women.  Though their pasts were each very different, they were all in need of  His touch.  I pray that you will follow along as we 'settle the matter' and prepare our hearts for a "You-Nique Weekend For Women."