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Ready, Set, Free

When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.”

Luke 13:12
Ready, Set, Free Book Cover

ready

She was in the synagogue! If anything should shock us about this passage, it’s that this woman was in the synagogue.

Eighteen years without control of her own body. Eighteen years spent doubled over, having a clear view of people’s feet but not their faces. She’d spent all those years without the ability to stretch her body, restricted and in pain, unable to look up at the sky on a sunny day, unable to meet the embrace of the people she loved and the people who loved her. But she was in the synagogue, the place where the people of God went to worship.

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We don’t know what had happened in this woman’s life eighteen years prior to leave her in this state. Luke doesn’t give us any details. We only know that, whatever it was—whatever she had done, or whatever had been done to her—this woman’s life had been changed forever.

Somewhere along the way, she’d encountered a spirit that had taken over her body. She was trapped and in bondage.

It can be hard to imagine the scene. We live more than two thousand years removed from this woman. In Western culture, we don’t often talk about the supernatural. We have complex, intellectual, scientific answers to meet what we assume are complex, intellectual, scientific problems we encounter in our everyday lives. Yet, if we’re honest, even two thousand years removed our world is not all that different from the woman’s world. Sometimes all the complex, intellectual, scientific answers we have simply aren’t enough to alleviate our suffering. Sometimes we’re still left wanting.

The Bible will tell us explicitly when a person is suffering from a physical illness. But while it’s clear that the woman was suffering, Luke makes it equally clear that the root of her problem ultimately wasn’t physical but spiritual. And the truth is, when it comes to our spiritual lives, we’re just like this woman. Maybe our spiritual problems don’t leave us doubled over for eighteen years, but the chal lenges can still thwart us. Augustine had a phrase for it: incurvatus in se, the life bent over on itself.1 He understood that our spiritual lives, when not in check, would lead us to self-preoccupation, turning us inward and robbing us of the love, joy, and community we were made for. (Note: Augustine was a theologian of the late Roman period whose writings greatly influenced Western Christianity and philosophy.)

free

This woman’s spiritual condition had left her so debilitated she couldn’t see Jesus. But Luke tells us that Jesus saw her. And even though we’re not told outright, we can be sure that Jesus took compassion on her
because when he saw her, he called her over and, without asking so much as a single question about the circumstances that had led to her bondage, he set her free.

We all have things we tolerate in our lives—toxic relationships, mental or physical ailments, or addictions. Maybe they’re things we once asked for freedom from, but we’ve since given up hope. Maybe they’re things we don’t
think Jesus is interested in changing.But we all live with bondage. The question is, do we really believe Jesus has come to set us free?

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Comments (14)

Wow! I just wrote about this in my journal yesterday, but I’m not sure I saw how debilitating some of my attitudes could be. Definitely a new perspective I need to look at closer. Jesus is slowly molding me , but by bit. I’m thankful and terrified at the same time. Change can be difficult but necessary. Step by step, touch by touch, push and pull; mold me.

We have freedom from eternal salvation and are free to seek Him first and to love others. I am not free in some ways from toxic relationships or others negative opinions but I can pray and worship and allow Jesus to help me know the next step.

What do we do about the toxic relationships we can’t get rid of? We can get rid of friends (or even colleagues, by keeping our distance to the best of our ability), but what about family? In-laws? Ex spouses (if we have children together)? I have learned the hard way about boundaries. With in-laws, for example, I severely limit the time spent with them, and the moment things start to get ugly I quietly gather the kids and leave. Same thing for family. I learned over time that people picked up on that. I didn’t have to cry or threaten or even yell – just quietly go – and they either learned to fall in line or they didn’t. But you can bet I became (and still am for some of them) the focus of their hatred or negative feelings. "My son wouldn’t do this if she didn’t make him" or "My daughter is in the wrong, not me." I have learned to live with these feelings directed at me but it’s hard, all the time.

And now that my mother-in-law has passed, and my father-in-law’s mind is deteriorating he can’t remember what he/they said and did to me, I have to live with the fact that there will never be closure with them. There will never be a reconciliation. I have to bend over backward to be kind to him and I have to figure out what to do with my feelings about my mil and how to help my husband and kids grieve her while I, frankly, do not. What I grieve for is all the negativity and hurt feelings and bad blood between myself and my kids and my in-laws.

I just reread what I previously wrote and realize that I had typed the wrong word. I am free from eternal DAMNATION because I am free because I have accepted Jesus as my Savior and am free to look forward to spending eternity with HIM.

My mental health is something that I have held onto for a long time. It has become my identity. It is a part of who I am and if I gave that up and experienced freedom, who would I be? Who am I without bipolar or depression or anxiety? Who am I without that wall that I have built up? I know that freedom is going to be so much better but it is scary because I have dealt with these issues for so long.

You would be the person God wants you to be! You would be able to use your testimony of depression, bipolar, and anxiety to reach others that feel the same. I encourage you try out freedom in Jesus. You won’t be disappointed.

You would be the person God wants you to be! You be able to use your testimony of depression, bipolar, and anxiety to reach others that feel the same way. I can’t imagine dealing with those things, but I know God can use you in a huge way!! I encourage to try out freedom in Jesus, you wouldn’t be disappointed!

You would be the person God wants you to be. You would be able to use your testimony of depression, bipolar, and anxiety to reach others who may have your same thoughts. I encourage you to give freedom in Jesus a try! You won’t be disappointed!

I don’t know. I’ve been told my faith isn’t strong enough; I don’t pray enough; I’ve told myself (and feel that God has confirmed this numerous times) that disobedience keeps me from freedom.

Sometimes I just love my sin.
I don’t want to be free.
But when I am full of sin, there is no room for Jesus.
He doesn’t come into places that are already full.
Lord, help me empty myself.
I want MORE of You.

I know that there is freedom in Jesus and have accepted that freedom. My wish/prayer is that those in my family who have not found that freedom do.

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