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In Our Suffering

One Sabbath as he was teaching in a synagogue, he saw a seriously handicapped woman who had been bent double for eighteen years and was unable to straighten herself.

Calling her over to him Jesus said, "Woman. you are healed of your sickness!" He touched her, and instantly she could stand straight. How she praised and thanked God! Luke 13: 10-13 (TLB)


Elly Cantrell Gilbert, from Kentucky, has a chronic illness. When her disease is active, she looks for anything that will provide her with a little relief. Before she had the necessary surgery and got on an appropriate treatment course, she was very sick for about a year and a half. During that time, Elly tried about every over-the-counter option she could find to ease her suffering, and, of course, none of it worked. Fortunately, her illness has been in remission for about 10 years now.

Elly 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.


Prayer: 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 trouble we face. Help us draw closer to you every day, in Jesus' name. Amen.


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