Luke 13:11 a woman was there who had been disabled by a spirit, for over 18 years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all.
Somewhere she had lost track. Had Eliana been able to keep her counter going, she would have marked this particular morning number 6,582. It was the six thousand five hundred and eighty-second morning that she didn’t feel like getting out of bed. Even before the sunrise, it was the pain in her lower spine that greeted her. Soon that pain would be overtaken by the one in her neck after standing to her feet and then straining to look ahead rather than toward that which she was unforgivably bent; the ground.
For these last 18 years she had been plagued with this disability but she’d never given up hope to be restored. And on this particular morning, she knew that a man was to be at the church who had a reputation of healing the sick. It wasn’t the first time she’d tried something so apparently ludicrous. In fact, it was the umpteenth. But her hope had not died and it was that (hope) on this morning that gave her the extra she needed to prepare herself for the Sabbath. In fact, she could feel something rising from deep inside that she hadn’t felt in a very long time. It was a little skip in her step.
Then the voice started talking.
“Eliana, you’re sick and tired. This will be a wasted trip. Stay at home.”
“Eliana, people will see your disability and know how greatly you’ve sinned. Stay at home.”
“Eliana, you know the only reason your son stays with you is to help you. If you were better, you’d lose him. Keep him around to help you. Stay at home.”
“Elaina, the doctors have told you time and time again, this is a slowly progressing problem that will never get better. You’ll just have to live with it.”
She’d heard all of these voices before but for Elaina, hope in God and faith that He loved her and had an answer always prevailed. And it did again on this morning. She finished preparing herself and braced one hand against the wall as she shuffled to her door. There in the corner were two very worn hickory stick canes. This corner had been their home for those 6000 plus days. And as she put one in each hand and hobbled out the door, she had no idea that it was the last day she would ever use them.
13] Then He laid His hands on her, and instantly she was restored and began to glorify God.
I wish I could have been there to see that! Less than the miracle itself, the joy and exuberant praise of a woman who had suffered for 18 years being completely restored is an event for which I would have paid a great price to attend.
The word “restored” is ana-orthos. It’s a compound word indicating to be made upright (orthos) as in the beginning (ana). Inherent in this word is more than something analogous to a restore point on a computer, a time when the computer worked better than it does now. Rather, the word indicates something being put back as it was intended to be “in the beginning.” (It would be like hitting the restore key on a computer and it then putting itself back in the box, unopened with a price tag still attached.) It’s the essence and end of true biblical justice; life being restored to what God intended in the beginning. Full restoration is truly renewal.
After 18 years, it would be easy to believe in nothing. But for those who have struggled that long and longer, we’re called to believe in God for everything.
Otherwise, we’re left to meander in a world of growing chaos that we’d like to slow down instead of fix. We’ll be left with a populous of angry souls that we’ll try to temper rather than transform. We’ll be left to swim in a sea of sickness that we’ll try to bandage rather than cure.
It’s not that slowing, tempering and bandaging are wrong. They’re just not fully right.