I have been finishing the devotional book, Meeting Him, by Beneth Peters Jones that I began way back in February. I have a bad habit of not sticking to one devotional book at a time. So this one was half read when I picked up another and then another, and you get the idea. A few weeks ago I decided I was going to finish this one so I could pass it on to someone (it is a REALLY good book).
Meeting Him is a devotional book based on all the women that Jesus interacted with in the New Testament. I love reading books by Beneth Peters Jones and have had the privilege of hearing her speak on more than one occasion. The Lord has really touched her and given her wisdom regarding Biblical themes for women. I highly recommend this book for personal reading/study. It even has questions for each chapter that you can work through. They are hard questions that will make you think, and help you grow in your walk with Christ. And that is what our devotional moments should be all about, right?
When I started the particular chapter today’s post is based on, my first thought was, who? I honestly did not know this woman’s story (shame on me for not knowing my Bible better). She’s found in just 3 short verses in Luke 13 (verses 11-13). They read:
“And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift herself up. And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou are loosed from thine infirmity. And he laid his hands on her; and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.”
This woman did not call out to Jesus, or touch the hem of His garment (as the woman with the issue of blood did). We see earlier in the chapter, that Christ was teaching in the synagogue, so she had come to either hear Him, or had just come for worship and found Him there.
It would have been a difficult thing for her to get there. Imagine being bent in half (anyone who has had serious back pain can understand her, although being like that for 18 years would try anyone’s patience). Can you imagine trying to traverse the streets while staring at the ground. It doesn’t say in the passage that anyone helped her. Just these short verses about a woman that Luke thought was important enough to include (I love seeing how each of the disciple’s personalities came through in their writing – Luke being a doctor chose to include this healing along with the woman who had the issue of blood for 12 years).
As I was reading through this chapter, I was thinking the whole time, Where is Mrs. Jones going with this? How is she going to use these short verses to make an application for us as women? But she did not disappoint. I was so inspired by her application that I immediately wanted to share it with you all.
Beneth Jones shares how this woman’s physical deformity can be compared to our spiritual deformity. All of us at some point or another are bent double spiritually, staring at the earth, the dust, and the rocks. We see only the hardness of life and none of the beauty that the Lord wants to us see. Sin is what causes this spiritual problem. Ecclesiastes 7:29 says that God created man to be upright but that we have sought out many inventions. Isn’t that so true? We seek out our own desires. We “invent” things in our lives that should not be there. Not every invention is bad. But some of them are.
We keep hidden sins, secret sins that steal our joy without us even consciously thinking about them. David, in Psalm 19 asked the Lord to cleanse him from “secret faults”. We should ask the Lord to show us those things that maybe we aren’t even aware of!
And then David, in the same passage, asks the Lord to keep him from presumptuous sins. Those times that we assume God will approve of something without first seeking His approval or blessing. David called that sin.
These things can cause us to bow away from God towards the earth. To become bowed-together because of sin. Beneth didn’t address this, but the idea of seeing only the dirt, the ugliness of life, reminded me of what depression can be like. And I saw such a correlation between our spiritual deformity and depression. Granted, not all depression is spiritual-related, I realize some can be caused by a chemical imbalance in our bodies (I have dealt with both and understand some of the issues on both sides). But when we deal with depression our view is altered, much like this woman that was bowed-together. When she walked she could not see the sky, or even the tops of the trees. The only birds she would be able to see would be those who landed on the hard-packed earth. No soaring eagle filled her vision. No leaves moving in the wind. No gorgeous sunset. So many things she missed because of her deformity. Those dealing with depression may see these things, but they can’t really “see” them. Depression can be a sin issue, and, like the others addressed by David, needs to be given to the Lord so that He can make us upright.
“…Then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.” Psalm 19:13b
I don’t want to be in a bowed-together position, spiritually. I don’t want to be hindered or slowed in my walk with God. I want to be able to stand upright so that I can see what the Lord has for me to see.
In this short passage, we see that Jesus called this woman to Himself. He picked her out of a crowd of people and she had to make the decision to go. So, too, He calls us, tells us to stand upright. We need to make the decision to listen when He calls. We cannot free ourselves from this debilitating deformity, we need the hand of the Lord on our lives. His voice in our ears.
Do you listen? Do you respond when you hear Him calling you? Are you bowed with spiritual double-bend?