Monday, October 29, 2018


"Woman, you are set free of your ailment.”

After eighteen years of pain—a pain so heavy she could not even stand upright—I can only imagine the lightness and relief this woman must have experienced at Jesus’ words that caused her to burst into praise.

I remember moments I have experienced this joyful rush of healing and relief.

I remember the first run after months of recovering from a knee injury. As I ran over the packed dirt in the Minnesota woods, an uncontainable, childlike grin broke out on my face.

I think this is the healing today's Gospel describes. In moments of healing, we almost cannot help but thank God—there feels like no other appropriate response.

But after this surge of our newly lightened spirit upwards, there comes the slower, harder work of healing. I wonder if, after this Sabbath with Jesus, this same woman had to learn this slow work of healing, too.

I wonder if it took this woman many weeks—years, perhaps—to retrain herself to stand upright. She must have had to remember each day that her muscles now had the strength to hold her head up high. She must have had to remind herself that God had done great things for her—and deserved her same thanks.

It is easy, in the moment of healing, to thank God. Being healed is one thing, but learning how to live as a healed person is another. It is too easy to go back to the old habits, the stooped posture, the same sins.

Living as healed persons means that we—that I—have to let go of the old, sinful habits I have formed.

To live as someone healed means that we slowly learn to turn what is hurt and broken in us into a hymn of thanksgiving to the God whose love, each day, brings us joy.

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