She wears it so beautifully doesn't she, her pain… Always smiling, always positive…. always happy to help… It's like a garment perfectly tailored to fit the way she carries it… with a touch of grace… and the quietness of that sad smile…. All so you'd never know how heavy it really was.
None knows the weight of another's burden.
We all carry burdens of some sort. Something pressing on our hearts.
For some it may be guilt or shame that weighs heavy. Others of us feel bent over with grief.
Some of us carry pain, loneliness, resentment or anger around with us every day.
And then, there are those of us who struggle with addiction. Be it alcohol, drugs, overspending, or overeating. That is your burden. And you long so to be free of it.
I'd like to share one of my very favorite Bible stories with you about a woman burdened down with cares and her encounter with Jesus.
It comes from Luke 13:10-13.
On the Sabbath, Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said, "My dear woman, you are set free from your infirmity" …from all that weighs your heart, mind, body and life down. Then he touched her, and she immediately straightened up and praised God.
Sometimes we feel God is too big and so busy with the larger problems of this grief-stained, war-weary world of ours, that he couldn't possibly care about our little lives.
Then we read a story like this one.
Imagine it with me, if you will.
The people in Galilee get wind that Jesus is speaking in their town, at their synagogue. I have no doubt the place was packed with people, if for no other reason than curiosity to see who this guy was that they'd heard so much about.
In a crowd like that we can feel so small and insignificant; I'm sure the bent-over woman felt that way. As if the things on our hearts, and the burdens that we carry, can't possibly matter to anyone, let alone God.
But, every heart matters to God. Especially hearts heavy-laden with burdens and cares.
You may feel that God can't see you in the sea of humanity. But, he does. It says in verse 12, that Jesus saw that bent over woman… he picked her out of the crowd.
And Jesus sees you, my friend. Right where you are. Whatever the burden that you bear.
All that he wants is for you to come to him. That's what he asked of the woman that day. That's what he longs for you to do, too. Not when you've straightened yourself out. But, right there in the middle of the mess, the heaviness, the pain, the grief, the struggle, the heartache.
When that stooped-over woman made her way through the crowd to meet Jesus, the first thing out of his mouth was, "My dear woman." Imagine it. He called that woman dear. Beloved. Precious.
How many of you need to hear the same words that Jesus spoke to this encumbered woman?
"I have loved you with an everlasting love..."
Do you need to feel loved today, dear ones?
Jesus didn't just speak loving words to her that day, he reached out and touched her.
Close your eyes for a moment. Imagine Jesus touching you where it hurts the most.
His touch healed that woman who was weighted down and immediately she was healed.
Now life is messy. And burdens don't always lift immediately, like it did for this woman.
But, if you let Jesus touch you today, he will lift the burden that you bear and carry it for you.
Let him have all your worries and cares, for he is always thinking about you and watching over everything that concerns you.
—1st Peter 5:7
When Jesus touched the bent-over woman, she stood up straight and tall for the first time in eighteen years. May I ask, "How long have you been carrying your burden around?" God so longs to set you free.
Let me be clear, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free—not partially, but completely and wonderfully free! We must always cherish this truth and stubbornly refuse to go back into the bondage of our past.
And just like the woman was healed of her infirmity and the burden that weighed her down, you too, will find yourself healed, free… and praising God for his goodness, mercy, healing and love.
None knows the weight of another's burden…but God.
Please don't carry that burden one more day!
Let your burdens come undone. Lift your eyes up to the One who knows.
*If you've never encountered Jesus …will you let him love you into His kingdom? In Revelation 3:20 Jesus says to us, Look! I have been standing at your heart's door, and I am constantly knocking. If you hear me calling and open the door, I will come in and fellowship with you.
Jesus died for the love of you. If you will let him touch you, heal you, cleanse you, renew you – you will experience what the woman experienced.
You will immediately experience forgiveness of sin, and the peace of God will come rushing in. And he will be your strength…to put one step in front of the other. And he will fill your heart with gladness like he did for the bent-over woman.
This devotional is dedicated to Hunter Redden…who bore burdens too heavy to bear.