Thursday, April 12, 2012

Straight and Tall

She couldn’t stand up straight and tall. She really, really wanted to. Wanted to more than anything else in the whole world. She asked for healing. Please, God, make me well again.

She believed that He could. That He would.

But He didn’t.

Instead she walked bent over, face toward the ground. Feeling each painful step. In her neck, back, legs. For eighteen years she lived this way.

Crippled body.

Crippled spirit.


This is the way things are. This is how they’ll always be.

Maybe she gave up hoping for a miracle. Maybe she got tired of trusting and believing. And maybe she exchanged hope and trust for a lie. A lie that God didn’t care about her. That He cared about others, but not her.

Like the day that she saw Jesus, and He taught at her synagogue, she didn’t ask Him to heal her.

He saw her.

He called her to come to Him.

He said, “… you are freed from your sickness…” (Luke 13: 12 NIV).

After all those years, He set her free. No more pain. No more crippled body. No more crippled anything.

He told her that she was free.

Then He touched her. And instantly, she stood up straight and tall.

The Living Bible describes her response like this: “How she praised God!” (vs. 12).

She got her healing. She got her hope back. I’m happy for her. But the truth is that she didn’t have to lose hope or trust or faith.

We don’t have to lose ours either.

When she thought God didn’t care, He did. When we think God doesn’t care, He does.

He does care.

He does care.

We have to remember this truth: God loves us. God cares. He’ll never stop loving us.

He never stopped loving the crippled woman. He waited to heal her so that His Son could perform the miracle.

Sometimes, He waits to answer our prayers too. But the waiting doesn’t mean that He has stopped caring.

I love how Jesus answered the people who accused Him of breaking Jewish law because He healed someone on the Sabbath.

He said, “…should not this woman…whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years be set free on the Sabbath?” (vs. 16).

Did you notice this phrase? “…eighteen long years….”

Jesus knew exactly how long those eighteen years were to that hurting woman. They did not pass by in a flash. They were long and lean. Difficult. Filled with despair and discouragement.

The long years are always like that.

But be encouraged, sweet girl. God sees us during the long, lean years of waiting. God calls us to come closer to Him as we wait for our prayers to be answered. He speaks to us. His Son has the power and the authority to heal us and to set us free.

One day by His great power and grace, we too will stand straight and tall.

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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Something Beautiful

She walked into the room that night, a vial of extravagantly expensive perfume in her hand. Without hesitating, she broke the bottle open. Exquisite fragrance filled the room. Everyone at the party noticed. Most of them were mortified as she walked to the guest of honor and poured the perfume on His feet and on His head.

I mean, really.

She shouldn’t have gone in there. It was more like a For Men Only Event.

The women were pretty much expected to hang out in the kitchen. Cook. Serve. Wash dishes. Watch the kids. You know, make yourself useful and whatever you do, don’t rock the status quo.

Uh, Mary didn’t get the memo.

And Mary didn’t care.

She was that way. One time her sister, Martha, was waybusy preparing a gourmet meal for their friend Jesus—the guest of honor at this banquet, too. However, Mary didn’t help Martha.

Mary stayed near Jesus.

Mary listened to everything He said.

How cool is that.

But, of course, Martha got ticked off and tattled on her to Jesus. “Make Mary help me. I’m knocking myself out, and my sister hasn’t even offered to toss the salad. Don’t you think that she should at least rinse the veggies?”

Well, Jesus is like so totally awesome.

He explained that Mary had made a good choice. She chose Him over distractions and projects and activities. And Jesus talked so sweet to Martha that she stopped being angry with Mary.

But anyway, back to the night Mary crashed the party.

Perfume still in the bottle. Just a little.

People began to criticize her. A lot.

Friends, fans, and family of Jesus, supposedly.

“Woman, what were you thinking? Do you realize that an ordinary working man would have to labor for a whole year to earn enough money to purchase perfume like this?”

Another said, “What a waste. We could have sold the stuff and bought enough food to feed thousands."

And, “Who do you think you are? Don’t you care about starving children?”

Indignant? Sure they were. On behalf of the poor you know.

Now, Mary didn’t mean to be contrary. Didn’t mean to cause confusion.

But Mary broke more than just a bottle of perfume.

She broke out of her comfort zone.

She broke some worn out traditions and expectations.

She broke through barriers.

She was rejected, rebuked, ridiculed. But not by Jesus.

“Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to Me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have Me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for My burial “ Mark 14:6-8.

Mary did something special for Jesus. Something beautiful. She anointed His precious, holy body for burial. After His crucifixion, several women went to the tomb to prepare His body for a proper burial. Although they arrived before daylight on the first day after the Sabbath, they were too late. He had already risen from the dead. Mary had already done what her friends tried unsuccessfully to do.

Mary saw something beautiful in Jesus. She recognized Him as being the Passover Lamb. The lamb who was slain from the foundation of the world. Sacrificed for the sins of the whole world.



He did Something Beautiful for us.

What will we do for Him?

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