Looking Forward to May

While not celebrated as much as Easter, May contains two holidays we might consider this year. May 18th is considered in some denominations the Feast of the Ascension, celebrating the ascension of Jesus into heaven forty days after His resurrection. The other is Pentecost, the annual birthday of the Church, celebrated fifty days after Easter.

On Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, Son of God, and Son of Man. For Jesus to willingly put aside all of His glory and majesty to become like one of us is a powerful thing, and one I try to keep in mind every year. But Jesus’ return to the Father, and to be seated at God’s right hand? That is a MISSION ACCCOMPLISHED! Jesus’ presence with the Father begins another ministry that Jesus then and now continues to do for us. That is to be our Advocate with the Father, that if we sin, He argues for us before the throne for our forgiveness, as He has shed His own blood for us. He does this for us even today, and we need that to continue to come into Father’s presence.

On Easter, we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, and rightly so. That truly is the biggest day on our calendar, for everything changed the morning Jesus rose from the dead. But Pentecost remains nearly as important, as it is the day the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of God, came and dwelt among us, to lead and direct the work of the Church. Jesus said He would have to go so that the Father could send the Counselor. Once Jesus ascended, the Counselor came just ten days later. The disciples stayed in Jerusalem just as they were instructed, waiting for the Power from on High to descend upon them, and thus, the Church, Christ’s body and bride was born on the day that tongues of fire were lit upon their heads.

So whatever else May brings to you this year, let us rejoice and worship the Lord God for His precious gifts in His Ascension and in Pentecost. May God bless you this month!

Thanksgiving Mourning

As I write this, I realize that November is the penultimate month on the calendar. It marks the period of time between Halloween and Christmas that we usually associate with Thanksgiving. Sadly Thanksgiving is often overshadowed by it’s far more popular neighbor, Black Friday! Every year I think we mourn the loss of Thanksgiving and try to resurrect its charms: hymns of thanksgiving, reminders of the Pilgrim’s plight and so on. But as our culture continues to slide into secularity, notions of thanking an Almighty God for our blessings seem to fall by the wayside as quaint notions of yesterday. On this point, may I laud the elementary schools for at least dressing up the kids as pilgrims and Indians and telling the story of the Thanksgiving Feast.

I’ve been to Plymouth, Massachusetts. I’ve seen the Plymouth Rock with the date of 1620 etched upon it. I’ve also seen the massive monument to the dead. Atop the hill, up from the landing site, there is a monument upon which the names of those who first landed are written. Not all of them, for not all died, but most of them. That first winter when William Bradford and the others landed, they didn’t know how to survive in the cold Massachusetts winter. You see the Pilgrims didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving their first year, or their second, but their third, and this thanks to Squanto. It was Squanto, the Indian man who had learned English as a captive and returned to the colonies. He helped them get along with their Indian neighbors and translate for them. Only when they found cooperation with the native Americans did they finally learn how to survive, and even thrive in the New World. That first Thanksgiving marked three days (at least) of celebration, food, and games played between Indians and Puritans, for the harvest of food and fellowship they enjoyed. That was the basis for the first Thanksgiving. It was not until President Lincoln that Thanksgiving was celebrated as a national holiday, and many years later became the Federal Holiday we know it as today.


“How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping Your word.” (Psa 119:9) I am reminded that though I am not a young man, I still need purity of thought, because there is no end to distraction. The “almighty dollar” compels many to seek my attention, with commercials and ads. Even for someone who works in music, it is a bit distracting where everywhere there is a competition for space in my brain, without me realizing it, so that I can still sing the Oscar Meyer song. (You are already singing it in your head, aren’t you?)

I realize that even old men need to keep their way pure. We live in an age of impurity. All around us are calls for our attention, time, and our money. The lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life keep many a Christian from fulfilling the tasks God has set before them. We get distracted. As one sage noted, if Satan can’t trip us up with sin, then He will keep us too busy to hear the voice of the Shepherd. Yes, “all we like sheep have gone astray”, because it is so easy to pull us away from the flock. Because living is hard, and if we aren’t regularly engaging His word in our lives, we are pulled away.

Having just celebrated the greatest words in all the world, “He is Risen!”, what do we do with that news? Has life’s crushing weight once again pulled us away from the gospel story? The same Lord who bore the weight of my sin on the cross also extends his hand to help us bear the weight of living, “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” As we move on into the responsibilities of May, don’t let the lessons of Easter and of His Resurrection wander away from you. The word of God is true! Christ the Lord is risen. He is alive! And because He is alive, we have hope. He will never leave us, nor forsake us. Let us keep His word deeply.

Just a dog

As of this writing, our dog, Lucas, has been gone for 24 hours. It was something that we said needed to be done, his health was failing and he was in obvious distress whenever he moved. It was the right thing to do. So we tell ourselves.

As I turned over this decision in my mind, my heart kept interrupting. Just give me another day, another hour, just to spend some more time with him. Even now my heart reminds me, “it wasn’t that bad, was it? Couldn’t he have lasted one more week?” Maybe he could have. His condition wasn’t emergent.

Lucas had been gradually deteriorating over the last few months. The vet said there was nothing she could do to stop it. It was some kind of nerve or muscular issue that I didn’t understand. It just was, and he wasn’t getting any better. So, yesterday, after a couple of months of this, we decided it was time, and my wife took him to the vet to be put down. That was yesterday.

And now, there is a hole in our lives. We’d only had him for nine years. But each of us had our own memories of him. My daughter had painted of picture of him in high school. My other daughter spoke a special language to him. My oldest son enjoyed having him around. My wife and I considered our furry child.

I am reminded of the line from the third hobbit movie, when the elf-girl is mourning the death of Kili, a dwarf. She cries out and says, “why does this hurt so much?” To which the elf-king standing beside her replies, “because it was real.” Lucas was just a dog. I have stood at the bedside of many patients and watched their numbers drop to zero. I have witnessed several such deaths. It is never easy, but then again, it was never personal. Lucas wasn’t just a dog, he was mine.

And this is where I find myself today, in mourning for a four-legged rescue who lived the best days of his life with us. I went home yesterday just to pet him, and tell him he is a good boy, and that he could rest now. I treasure that memory, just as all the others I have of him.

My grief bubbles just under the surface. I noted that for lunch, “hot dog” was on the menu. Never before did that mean as much, or bring to mind what I was feeling. I see commercials of people with their dogs. It hurts. It is a pain that is deep inside and it occasionally erupts in tears.

I don’t have any profound of groundbreaking to say here, and I know I am not adding anything to the conversation. My loss isn’t any greater that what others have suffered, especially with COVID. But I needed to say something. Lucas will always be a part of our lives. His absence is palpable. Thank you Lord for sharing him with us.


Almost without warning, July has crept up upon us. As I get older, I notice that time is not nearly as slow as it used to be. I used to look forward to summers as school holidays, long day filled with play and being outdoors. Now as an adult, every day seems much like every other. Go to work, eat, watch TV, go to bed.

But one thing that should be fresh and new every day is your relationship with Jesus Christ. As the promises of life fade into the mundane, we find that the promises of Jesus are always filled with expectancy and surprise. The deeper you go into Jesus and your relationship with Him, you will find that you have yet to hit the bottom of the pool. “these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.” (1Co 2:10)

No matter deep you go into God, you will always find that He is deeper. You will soon find yourself outside the realm of language when trying to describe Him. Once you think you understand something in the Faith, you find that just underneath it are a host of new things to discover.

It used to be that we believed that the four elements were the foundation of all things, elements like water, earth, air and fire. And for a time, we thought we could turn lead into gold if we just had the right combination.

Then we came to understand the nature of molecules and chemical interactions. These were the true elements, like carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen, and we built a table to classify them, exploring their commonalities and differences. Finding new elements was always widely celebrated.

Then we discovered that these elements possessed atomic structure, of protons, neutrons, and electrons, circling each other, forming bonds and shedding them. We gained new understanding about the universe, and the structure of matter.

When we began to examine these, we found that these are built from smaller particles, like quarks and forces. Our machines to study these things became ever bigger, building and testing in the great Hadron Collider with miles-wide rings of electro-magnetic energy to shoots these sub-microscopic particles at each other to see that came out.

And then when we looked into these things, we found even smaller pieces to study, like quanta, and quantum mechanics. Energy and matter converged and began to question the nature of all things, why they came into being, and the forces that hold them together. I imagine once we think we understand those things, we will find still smaller pieces that make up those.

This all comes from a God who is infinite (in- meaning not, and finite meaning limited, because we don’t have positive words to describe God’s nature, because we couldn’t understand them if we did) and in His omniscience (except the “omni-“s), is infinitely creative.

To study life and nature using the tools of science involves only a fraction of the whole. Life and all things of earth could occupy our scientific curiosity for a lifetime, but there is an entire universe, filled with stars, planets, and who knows what else. Even this is a pale reflection of the true nature of God. What ought to be our response to this?

Awe. Wonder. Worship of the God Who is higher than I. Let the whole world fall before Him, whom the stars themselves worship (Job 38:7). Is it any wonder that beholding the night sky brings on these feelings? Discovering our place in the vastness of it all, can we resist Him? He becomes the one Hope we hold on to. Could we? For God alone is God. All owe their existence to Him. How mighty and awesome is the Lord our God!

And yet this is the God who sends Jesus. All the awesomeness of the Holy God of Heaven, encapsulated into a Man. Words again fail to describe the ability of God to enter into the human space, to live as one of us. That He came as a man at all points to God’s respect for His highest creation, for it was as a man, not a lion, or a dog, or an elephant, not a volcano, or an pillar of fire, or a Voice. But it was Jesus, a man like you and me, and only in appearance. This same Jesus came to us, to show us the “secret” of life, to unlock for us the ability to understand and have a relationship with the Holy God of Heaven. He made that way open by His own sacrifice, because our biggest problem wasn’t ignorance, but sin.

God I am not worthy to continue to write, for Your love for us is too much.

We are not worthy of the sacrifice You gave for us. And if we weren’t in awe before, now we must keep silent before you.

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (Psa 46:10)

Why Are We Still Here?

The world didn’t stop when the Bible was complete. Why is that? Why are we still here? What is the Bible for? Why was it so well preserved?

In Creation, God set up his covenant between God and Adam and his descendants. Though still in effect today, it only survives through the line of Noah, as all others were killed by the Great Flood.

After the Flood, God set up His covenant between Himself and Noah and Noah’s descendants. This covenant continues to apply to all of humanity, as all people of the earth are descended from Noah.

After some time, God set up a covenant between Himself and Abraham (Gen 12:1-3) and Abraham’s descendants. Incidentally, this covenant also includes the descendants of Ishmael.

Again, God makes a second covenant between Himself and Israel at Sinai, with Moses as mediator. This becomes codified into the Law. Under this covenant too was the covenant with David, that he would always have a King seated on the throne. Though his royal line was broken with Jehoiachin (Jeremiah 22:28-30), Jehoiachin’s descendant, Joseph, became the adoptive father of Jesus, the “Son of David”, who was seated in His place at God’s right hand.

When Jesus came, God made a further covenant, a new covenant (Luke 22:20; Hebrews 9:15), between Himself, and all who believe in His Son Christ Jesus through His blood. God’s covenant is extended to all who call upon the name of Jesus.

At the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in AD 70, the covenant of Sinai was effectively broken, as there was now no place to offer sacrifice. The Bible is also effectively complete at this point, as the majority of the Apostles have been killed or have died. The witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection are all but gone.

The Church picks up where the Bible leaves off, but begins to assume it’s own authority in the process. It is the Church which proceeds with curating what is the Bible, those books and letters that speak with the authority of her Author, written by Apostles and witnesses of those early days. But those days are now nearly 2000 years in our rear-view mirror. Except for the 400-year gap between the Old Testament and the New, there had been a steady flow of God’s Word to His people, through prophets, priests, and kings. The brief revival in the first century gave us the New Testament, but that too dried up before the century was over. Now, for the last 1900 years, there has been no fresh word, no new prophet, and certainly none that the Church could point to universally and say, “This too is Scripture.” Yes there are pockets of prophecy and wonders, those who pretend to write scripture and call it true, yet these feeble attempts only pale in comparison in quality and veracity to the original. For the Christian world there has been no fresh word from God in all this time.

Perhaps everything that needed to be said has now been said. As Solomon once wrote, “There is nothing new under the sun.” The Scripture as we have it in these 66 books now cover every conceivable life situation, whether by teaching or example. For you might remember the curse added at the end of Revelation (22), that whosever adds to the words of this prophecy will have plagues added to him, and whosoever takes away will have his name taken out of the book of life. Those are stern warnings.

As many can attest today, the Bible is just as meaningful and relevant as the day it was written, perhaps with even more importance for our own time, as the Word of God becomes scarcer and truth is harder to find. Unlike any other holy book, the Bible is the one book that is always sought after by its enemies to be burned or destroyed. This is because the Bible teaches one fundamental truth that every government of the world despises.

Government, as Romans 13 says, has the power of the sword, that is to say, government has the power of life and death over its people. The Government can determine what is legal and illegal, and can enforce penalties, up to and including capital punishment to enforce its will. But the Bible says something about death that defies this governmental authority.

When Jesus stood before Pilate, Pilate was most concerned about whether Jesus was a threat to his own authority. Of course, Jesus tells him that he would have no authority except that which was granted to him, subtly referring to Pilate status as Caesar’s representative, but also that Pilate was an authority of government, which gets its authority from God, Jesus’ Father. Pilate apparently didn’t see this as a threat. and affirmed that Jesus is innocent. In addition, Jesus told Pilate that His Kingdom was not of this world. Had Pilate been paying attention, he would have realized that this was the true threat to his authority.

You see, Pilate held the power of life and death over Jesus. This was the ultimate extent of his authority. Jesus told him that His authority extended beyond this world. While Pilate may have thought Jesus was just crazy, Jesus informs us and all who believe in Him the true power of reform and change in politics. While Christians operate in this sphere as good citizens, just as were are told to, we are not under the ultimate authority of the state, but of Christ. We do not fear death as they do. Government can only enforce its laws and policies with the threat of force (and Death). Christians have a Savior who endured this penalty, and ROSE FROM THE DEAD. The true threat to Rome and to all governments of the world is a people who do not fear death, because they don’t believe death is the worst possible penalty. This is why government cannot control Christians when it comes to worship of their God. They don’t fear the penalty that government can impose on them, and fear greater the penalty for not being Christians, that is, Hell.

This is the threat the Bible poses to all governments of the world, and why most governments of the world try to suppress the truth contained therein. Because once the Bible gets into the people, they no longer fear Government as the ultimate authority with the power of life and death. No government which stands against God can hope to last against such faith, and that’s why no government ever has.

Something to think about today as you pursue your daily walk.


Colossians 3:16  Let the message about the Messiah dwell richly among you, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, and singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, with gratitude in your hearts to God.

How does the message dwell richly within you? Does the message ooze out of you, like a creme filling that fails to stay in its boundaries of cake?

As Christians, Paul instructs us to be so filled with the message of the Messiah that we cannot help it from escaping our lips and thoughts. As we dwell upon that Word, that holiness fills us and overflows into others, so that others may see and testify to the message that has saved us. Sometimes it comes out in speech, and sometimes in song. But may it always be when we are in one another’s presence, this message oozes out in holy worship and joy when we fellowship together.


“There is an occasion for everything, and a time for every activity under heaven:” (Ecc 3:1)

Everyone this year is looking forward to turning the calendar over to 2021. If you are a bona fide 2020 survivor, you’ve earned it. I am surprised that 2020 has been a blessing to us and our family. Thankfully, we’ve not lost any of our loved ones this year. We’ve both been gainfully employed. Thankfully, despite some job changes, we’ve both been able to improve our situations, and even our son while being furloughed, was able to get a better job than he had before. My oldest daughter even starting working and making some money for herself. I’ve started into a new volunteer position with a local church with the possibility of coming onboard as staff in the near future. 2020 has been an answer to all kinds of prayers for us. I did not expect that.

I suppose I should have. God is a prayer-answering God. But I never would have imagined, had you told me, of the kinds of changes we would be looking at in 2020. The global lock-down is unprecedented. Never have all (most) of the countries of the world agreed to shut themselves down. There have been few winners and many who lost. And yet here we are. Perhaps I’m being premature, 2020 is not yet over as of this writing.

But changing the calendar to 2021 will change none of this. Tomorrow, we will still have COVID. we will not yet know who the next president is. There are still lockdowns in place. In fact, we will still be the same people as we are today, resolutions notwithstanding. Why, because you will still be you. Your heart will remain unchanged. While the calendar changes, you will remain. And the same problems you are dealing with today will follow you into the next year.

Ecclesiastes reminds us in its third chapter that there is a time for everything, and for everything there is (and will be) a time. All of those times can be recorded on a calendar, a chart we have made for ourselves to mark time. We mark days, weeks, months, seasons and years. We celebrate days of birth and special, sacred days to us. We remember days of death and ending. The calendar illustrates when the time was and will be for everything. And for everything there will be a date.

“One person considers one day to be above another day. Someone else considers every day to be the same. Each one must be fully convinced in his own mind.” (Rom 14:5)

Paul reminds us in his passage in Romans about judging one another (specifically the judgment between Jews who observe holy days and Gentiles who do not) that it isn’t about being right, but about being “convinced in his own mind” and that our method of keeping track of days and times really doesn’t matter outside of our own mind. Why is that relevant?

By common consensus, we all use this western calendar to keep track of time. But the calendar is just a tool. It isn’t your master. We get up to worship on Sundays, but that too is by agreement. We all (most) agree that Sunday is the day for worship. But we could worship everyday.

By the same token, we all (most) agree that the new year starts on January 1st, but you need not allow the calendar decide for you when you will make a major life change. You can decide to give your life to Jesus right now. You can call for a new year in your own life, starting today to read through the Bible, make a new commitment, or stop an old habit.

I don’t know where 2020 left you, but I call upon you not to let the calendar decide for you what kind of person you are going to be. You are more than times and dates. You were created for a higher purpose. You were made to be a child of God.

Listen to God’s voice, God’s own Word. His wisdom will get you through any year. His grace will help you through the highs and the lows. Give glory to God!

The Miracle Jesus Didn’t Do

Read Matthew 13:53-58

Going back to His hometown, while we do not immediately see it, must have been stressful for Jesus. The text is clear that He could do few miracles there. But there is one miracle that is glaring in its absence. To see it, I need to review two assumptions we make about the life of Jesus.

First, as we study the gospels, we find Jesus’ mother fairly active in his life, whether it is taking him home, because the family thinks he is crazy, or at the foot of the cross, watching His last moments. She is still here in Nazareth, with Jesus’ brothers. She was probably in her late forties, or early fifties. But did you notice who was missing from the list of Jesus’ family members? As much as they disagree, scholars tend to agree that Joseph, Jesus’ adoptive father, had died by the time this story takes place. They tend to agree that Joseph had died before Jesus started his public ministry.

Second, that Jesus did not receive His power from on high to work miracles and healings until his baptism in the river Jordan. This contradicts some of the spurious “infancy” gospels of Jesus, but it makes far more sense, and this even much more significant. The Old Testament saints did not have miraculous power until they Spirit came upon them, and it is far more likely the same was true of Jesus. Just as likely, too, this power was withheld from the juvenile and even toddler Jesus, who would have gone through the same struggles with selfishness and juvenile yearnings all of us go through. Only when Jesus proves he could resist temptation without divine power had Jesus been entrusted with supernatural ability.

These two points taken together point to something much more profound going on in Nazareth for Jesus. Buried somewhere outside the village was a box of bones, the remains of his adoptive father. However and whenever Joseph died, it seems logical to assume Jesus was present. As the firstborn son, it would have been his responsibility to care for the family, and certainly to see to burial arrangements. Had they observed tradition as we understand it, Joseph would have been laid out in a tomb while his flesh decomposed, and then Jesus would have had to go back to the tomb to transfer the bones of Joseph to an ossuary for interment.

As Joseph lay on his death bed, do you think Jesus prayed to God, His heavenly Father, to spare Joseph’s life? Did He pray that God would heal him? Did He agonize over the will of God to whether Joseph should have died? Would this have been a moment of great temptation of Jesus to use His power/ His knowledge to do something good? Did the divine Jesus know that Joseph would die, and when? Did they have conversations in the wood shop about this? Did Joseph tell Jesus that it was okay, that he had lived a good life, and that he was ready to go home? That he was proud of his “son”, and that he knew Jesus would save the world through His work and sacrifice? Didn’t Jesus weep at Joseph’s bedside, even though He knew that Joseph had been a good man, and would be in Abraham’s Bosom?

Did Mary turn to Jesus, and ask Him to do something? Did His brothers beg Him to save their father? And is this what caused such a rift between them that they did not believe until after He rose from the dead? I can almost hear James’ voice, “If you are the Son of God, then save our father!” What a powerful temptation that would have been, and what a source of great sorrow.

Joseph was the best father God could have picked to be the man who raised Jesus. No doubt he was a man who loved his own children well. He showed them what it was to be a man of God. And no doubt all of his children loved him, and were grief-stricken when he died.

And yet, is this the moment that separates Jesus from his family? Is this the reason why none of them follow him to the Jordan, or receive the baptism of John? Is this the moment why his family goes to find him, because they think he is crazy, so stricken with grief and sorrow that He believes He can raise the dead? That when He goes back to His hometown, his family are nowhere to be seen, nor seek to defend Him when he is attacked by the people of the town?

I think it is safe to say that Jesus faced this kind of temptation, and reasonable to assume that is such a thing happened in his family, it could certainly happen in yours. I doubt that Jesus was a stranger to family drama, and going home to Nazareth, a place He rarely visited, would have been a place of unusual stress for Him. So if going home for the holidays is a cause for stress, you are in good company. The family of Jesus rejected Him long before they accepted Him. But that isn’t the end of the story.

In 1 Cor 15:7, the scripture says, “Then He appeared to James . . .”

After His initial resurrection, Paul records for us several appearances of the resurrected Jesus. This one stands out. I imagine Jesus appeared to James quietly, silently coming into the shop, picking up familiar tools, and just working alongside him, without saying a word. I imagine James was initially annoyed that his brother would just come into his shop, abandoned three years ago to take up preaching. It was Jesus’ responsibility to take care of the family, not his. “Preaching didn’t pan out, huh?” James’ no doubt was getting warm under the collar until he notices the holes of the nails in Jesus’ hands. Suddenly he realized that the stories of his Brother weren’t just tales in the marketplace. “They said you died. How are you here?”, and yet here He stands, risen again, and standing there with him in his shop. I imagine at some point, the words began to pour out, words beginning with confusion, followed by anger, long-held bitterness at what Jesus had done to their family, and what He did not do. But the grief and the anger melts into sobs, realization setting in, that this wasn’t just his older Brother. This was the Son of God. All that He had done, all the slights their family had suffered, was for this moment. He was dead, and is now alive. He truly was God. He may have been on his knees, apologizing for all the things he had said and done. But in the end, his old Brother embraces him, saying, “All is forgiven.”

By Acts 1:14, Mary, and Jesus’ brothers are all in attendance with the disciples. By Acts 15:13, James speaks up among the assembly, and speaks for the church, passing judgment on the entrance of Gentiles into the Church. By Galatians 2:9, James is considered one of the “pillars” of the Church and even has a book of the New Testament attributed to him. It took some time, but James overcame his anger over his older Brother’s actions, and fully embrace Him as Lord and God.

The Lord knows what you are going through right now. The Lord empathizes with you, more than you know, especially if you are going through the loss of a loved one. Even in this, Jesus has been there. Jesus lost his father before He had the power to save him. Don’t you think that was a lesson that stuck with Him? Do you remember how He had compassion on the widow of Nain, and raised her son back to life? Do you remember how He wept at the tomb of Lazarus, a family that has become a surrogate for His own family in Nazareth? Do you think He may have been reliving the death of His own father a little bit? Jesus’ raised very few people back to life, but have no doubt He knew the very grief that people experience at such loss. Jesus knows your pain too. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)

At The Right Time

Read Lk 13: 10-17

I love it when Jesus fights for the little guy.

In this story found in Luke 13, we have another healing that Jesus performs on the Sabbath Day. This time it is a woman, crippled for eighteen years “by a spirit”. This spirit had so crippled her she couldn’t stand straight. Imagine for 18 years all this woman saw was the dust at her feet as she trudged from place to place. We see no friends here to help her. It seems there are none that care for her.

Yet there is one place she seems faithful to go, and that is to the synagogue. Despite her infirmity and the pain and suffering that go along with it, the woman attends her synagogue. You can probably imagine why, for she still has one Friend, One whom she still seeks week after week after week. Maybe for 18 years, she has lived with this crooked spine, still hoping, even praying that her God would heal her. I would say it is a greater test of faith to endure hardship as she did and still trust in God. And to not receive that miracle, than to pray and immediately be healed. I would say she did not make her infirmity a reason for leaving God behind, despite the lack of healing. She still trusted, as Job once wrote, “though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.”

It is one thing to come into an illness and to pray for healing, and receive it. We praise the Lord for His work and move with life. It is quite another to have such an illness, pray for healing, and never receive it. And still, despite this, to trust in God. Does your faith in God rest in the quiet trust that whatever is, is of God? That God knows what is best? And will do for you in His time? Would your faith endure for 18, 30 or even 50 years?

During Jesus’ life and ministry, many throngs of people came to Him for healing, pressing up to Him even to touch His garments. They were desperate to be free from their diseases. Jesus healed them. Yet this woman makes no effort to touch Jesus. She does not call attention to herself, and doesn’t seek healing. It is Jesus who sees her, notices her, and calls her forward saying, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” The woman’s back, once crooked and useless, was now straight. Once she was weak and disabled, but now she was strong, and this back made her taller than she’d ever known. Where once she was a woman ignored and overlooked, now she would be seen. The only words we hear her say is that she “praised God!” She knew who had healed her. He was the One she had been faithful to, when all others looked the other way. God saw her. He had been faithful to her, over the eighteen long years she had suffered and prayed, He had seen her, and for this moment, this moment when His Son visited this synagogue, she was prepared. She spoke perhaps more than she knew, but she knew the only power that mattered was the One come from God.

Jesus makes clear for us the struggles she faced. In verse 16, this woman was bound by Satan. But this woman, He says, was a daughter of Abraham, not just because she was a Jewess, but like her father Abraham, she too was faithful. Just as Abraham had been tested in his faith, so was she. She had received the sorest test, and had passed. Her waiting, her praying, and her willingness to endure this brokenness, despite the obstacles it presented to her life, her dreams and her future, was rewarded and commended. She had been prepared for this moment. She could have been set free on any day, but this healing on the Sabbath Day exemplified her faithfulness to her Lord and God.

Where you are today, you too may be praying for healing. Maybe you too have suffered for 18 years, as this woman did. There is hope yet. God knows your struggle. And God will act in His time. It will be the right time.

Heavenly Father, we come to you today to pray for Your healing. It may not be today, nor what we expect. It may not be this week, or at a time we think is right. So Father we also pray for trust that it will come at the right time, the best time. And may our lips and our hearts glorify You all the same. In Your Son’s name we pray, Amen.