Sunday, September 6

Bent with Infirmity

“Now [Jesus] was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up.” Luke 13:10-11 NKJV

Bent over. Glaring at the ground, peering only at dirt, debris, and the passing of feet. For eighteen years. Caused by what? A spirit of infirmity. The Greek word used for ‘infirmity’ means lack of strength, weakness, frailty, disease, or sickness.

Years of physical affliction had constricted this woman into a permanent 45 degree angle, hindering her from being upright. The enemy had given her a swift kick in the back, leaving his footprints in her flesh as knotted muscles and pinched nerves.

How frustrating that must have been for her. Did this burden press so relentlessly against her body that daily duties escaped her touch? Did the stress sap her strength? Being unable to lift herself up, did she feel diminished in her usefulness? However, in spite of her condition, she still made her way to the synagogue to worship.

Read the above verses again, closely. Do you see it? Jesus is teaching, probably reading from the scriptures. As He tries to connect with the eyes of those sitting there, He notices a stooped-over woman. Her appearance diverts His attention from His teaching and He calls her out of the crowd to His side.

Think about this…Jesus stopped teaching and called her to come forward. How embarrassing. Despite the pitiful stares and whispers of others, she shuffled her way to the front.

As she stood before Him, surely she strained to look into His face, into those piercing eyes. Then, He gently laid His hands on her stooped shoulders, her place of misery. “Woman,” He said, “you are loosed from your infirmity.” (Luke 13:12 NKJV)

As if Sleeping Beauty awakening from her long sleep, the woman stretched her torso upright. As she did, eighteen years of heaviness and pain disintegrated from her back, quelling the effects of the enemy by the healing presence of the Lord. The Great Physician set the captive free from the grasp of a spirit of debilitation, making the crooked straight.

With a heart full of gratitude and tears streaming down her cheeks, she immediately lifted her arms toward heaven and began to praise God.

After looking up the definition of ‘infirmity,’ this scenario made me stop and think. I have had the pain and frustration of a physical condition for several years. This made me wonder…Does this infirmity cause me to be weak, spiritually as well as physically, constricting my life so tightly that it doubles me over in pain, like this woman?

There are those in a physically diseased or debilitated state or in a diminished capacity, those dependent on the use of medications or treatments, those confined by blindness or deafness, those supported by the use of crutches, braces, walkers, or wheelchairs, or those imprisoned by the rails of a bed.

Then there are those in a physically weakened condition because they have chosen to lean heavily on drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, or whatever, causing an addiction.

So what happens when we permit our spiritual health to get so far out of whack that it affects our physical health? Or what happens when our physical posture negatively affects our spiritual posture?

In order to answer those, we need to search our hearts and ask ourselves some hard questions…

*What hinders me from standing upright?
*Does some burden restrict me?
*Do I allow sin to depress me?

*Does lust or pride enslave me?
*Does misunderstanding by others disable me?
*Do I need some substance to support me?

*Do I lean on excuses for a crutch?
*Do bitterness and unforgiveness tie me in knots?
*Do fears paralyze me?

*Does envy or jealousy bind me?
*Does illness keep me hunched over?
*Does financial lack immobilize me?

*Does stress sap my strength?
*Does the enemy blind me?
*Does the world deafen me?

Do we let any of these things imprison us spiritually, barring us from obedience to God’s Word? Do we allow ourselves to be diminished in usefulness? Do these things keep us from seeking God’s presence to worship Him?

When we are weak and disabled either physically or spiritually, we know we can depend solely - and soully - on the Lord. In any of these instances, we can repeat the words of Paul, “Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size - abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.” (2 Cor. 12:10 Msg)

No matter what physical or spiritual condition causes us to hunch over, our appearance attracts the Lord’s attention. If we allow Him to take over, He will call us out of the crowd to come to His side, to heal us where it hurts, to place His powerful hands on our place of misery and free us from the enemy’s grasp of debilitation. Jesus is ready to straighten us up, whatever our condition.

After experiencing a healing, whether physical or spiritual, we lift our hands to heaven, praising the Lord that He has made us upright in His sight, in His presence.

“The LORD frees the prisoners. The LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts the burdens of those bent beneath their loads. The LORD loves the righteous.” (Ps. 146:7b-8 NLT)

Prayer: Lord, allow my suffering to not be in vain. May I lift it up that others may trust in You no matter what infirmity weakens them - body, soul, or spirit. May I not allow my back to be bent by burdens that come into my life but praise You no matter what my spiritual state of infirmity. Amen!


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11 Responses
  1. Laura Davis Says:

    Lynne, thank you so much for this and for opening my eyes to a verse I've probably skimmed over a thousand times. I have been dealing with severe pain in my back and legs for many years - too many! I use a cane and sometimes a walker to get around and I can see very clearly now that I have let my physical disabilities affect my spiritual life at times. Too often our pain screams more loudly than we can bear and we fail to heed the Lord's voice when He calls. You have ministered to me today. Thank you.


  2. lynnmosher Says:

    Oh, Laura, bless your heart. I'm so sorry to hear your physical infirmity. I will be praying for you comfort, peace, and healing.

    I always desire that the Lord point me to the right post which is meant for someone special and that He speak to as many as He desires through my posts. Sometimes, He speaks to many; sometimes, to just one. You are that one.

    I praise the Lord that He has ministered to you through this post. May the Lord bless you abundantly!


  3. UKViewer Says:

    Lynn,

    A wonderful post to remind us that whether or not we have a physical, emotional or guilt infirmity, that Jesus's love for us is always there. His peace is there for us to have and hold, we just need to know it and to accept him into our hearts and minds.

    I am sorry to hear of your infirmity and will be thinking of you in prayers later.


  4. Hi Lynn!

    You know what I think that woman did after Jesus healed her? I think she danced!

    With all the wonderful blessings that God has given me during the 50-odd years after I had polio, the one He has yet to give me is the ability to dance. So many times He has blessed me, but that blessing is still waiting. One of these days I will stand up straight like the woman Jesus healed, and I will dance my love for Him...

    Be blessed!

    Lynnda


  5. Lynn,

    Again the Lord has used your gifts and talents to minister encouragement. To me, and I'm sure to many many others.

    The last paragraph also sums up my prayer.

    Bless you sister.

    Bless YOU JESUS for the benefit of this medium for ministry.


  6. Lynn, Bless you for words that describe my life. The first 10 years in a wheelchair I was lost and depressed. Then someone invited me to serve Jesus. As I began to teach His Word, my depression lifted and I was "healed." Today I'm better than before my injury yet still in my wheelchair.


  7. Kathryn Lang Says:

    Do we choose to live in oar infirmity believing that God has put it one us?

    God wants so much to bless his children and so often I am caught up in the "I" and "me" of it all that I can see Him or hear Him or I just don't want to. It is times like these that having spiritual comfort around you to see Him and hear Him for me can lift me up out of my infirmity or at least get me back on the right path.

    Thank you so much for this post. It has given me hope once again about situations I had deemed hopeless.


  8. Lorrie Says:

    Ooooo - ouch! Made me squirm a little Lynn :-) I obviously needed to hear your message. Thank you so much for sending rays of light and truth into my world. You're a gem! Love you :-)


  9. Many years ago I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. As it turned out, it later proved not to be the case at all because once I retired my pain disappeared; ergo, it was simply a bad case of stress. That said, however, I have deep sympathy for folks who suffer with daily pain, as that was my lot for the better part of 23 years. And I must say, that that experience taught me some very good spiritual lessons, so I don't begrudge it one little bit. God is faithful, especially in the face of affliction; and sometimes that's where we learn to know and love Him best.


  10. Lynn, what a beautiful post depicting those of us suffering from fibromyalgia. Hope you're feeling well this week. Always concerned and wondering how you are.


  11. Marja Says:

    Thank you Lynn, great post. I was wondering about something I wanted to write on my blog about the atonement of Jesus... after reading your post I think I will go ahead. :)