8-16-16 - Set Free

Yesterday I invited us to think about an area in life in which we feel stuck, a condition or limitation we just live with because we don’t think anything can be done (which is like saying that thing is more powerful than God…) Most likely the woman in our story, bent over with a damaged spine for eighteen years, thought that was her future. She may have been told it was the result of sin. The gospel writer says she was afflicted by an evil spirit. In certain Christian circles, she might be told her suffering was a way of coming closer to God, an honor, a test, a blessing even.

Jesus told her, “Here’s something we can heal.”

When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God.
It is his first instinct – “Let's take care of that.” He doesn’t deliberate and wonder if it’s “God’s will." He knows illness and disability are not God’s intention for us. We don't always see healing as immediately as in this story; often it’s more gradual. But we can trust that it is God’s will that we be whole. Wholeness is always the will of our God whom we call One and Perfect. How could such a One desire less than wholeness for us?

Freedom is also God’s desire for us, and for this world. Jesus said he had come to proclaim release to the captives. Anytime we’re unsure of God’s will in a given situation, we can ask where we sense the most freedom and pray toward that. This does not mean we don’t honor commitments to relationships or jobs, which can at times feel like they impinge on our personal freedom. It means we look for where God is inviting us to be free within those commitments. If our workday is confining, we plan in times for a restorative walk or rest. If church feels like a burden, we make sure there are some activities in which we are just nurtured, not working. If our movement is constricted by disability, we pray for healing and restoration.

What came up when you thought about something you’re stuck with that God can release you from? Bring that to Jesus in prayer. Invite the power and love that made the universe to be released in you, in your body, your mind, your spirit. And expect that the living water of God is flowing and bringing new life to you wherever you need it most.

“For freedom, God has made us free,” Paul reminded the Galatians (5:1). We honor God when we accept that gift every time God offers it.

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