Crippled…

You could have knocked me over with a feather…

It was true, I didn’t see this person every day.

But nothing prepared me for what I saw.  Instead of the tall, healthy, full-of-life person I was expecting, I found myself face to face with someone hardly recognizable.  Gone was the lively man I knew–in his place stood a tired, drawn up shell of a man.  Shuffling as he walked alongside my mother, it was then that I realized how frail my dad was becoming.  This terrible disease was crippling him; both on the inside, and the outside.

That day will live in my mind forever as the day my dad became…sick.

The disease crippled him in his mental outlook, and in his ability to go and do the things he once did.  It was taking him from me, slowly but surely.  Though he would not lose his mobility, in essence he lost a lot of what made Daddy…Daddy.    Little by little we lost a bit here, a bit there, until one day he lay in bed gasping for breath, waiting for the “all clear” to meet his Jesus.  When his time on earth was finished, he met his Jesus and soared off to an eternity in heaven.  My dad is crippled no more…

But what about those of us here on earth?  Some of us may be literally crippled– struggling to take those precious steps to the kitchen, to the mailbox, to the grocery store. Some of us may be figuratively crippled–struggling to take action in our relationships, our jobs, our ministries.  Being crippled can take all sorts of shapes and be brought on by all sorts of events.  Crippled doesn’t always refer to a difficulty with the legs…

I read a story recently in Luke 13:10-17.  Please take a moment and read it, because it is an awesome story.  The paraphased-by-me version goes like this:  Jesus was teaching on the Sabbath.  The religious leaders of the time didn’t like Him or anyone doing ANYTHING on that day.  There was a lady in the crowd who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years (wow!).  She was all bent over and couldn’t stand up straight.  Jesus saw her and said, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity!” (v. 12).  He laid his hands on her and she stood up straight immediately.  Well, those religious leaders were all in a huff because He had done such a thing on the Sabbath.  Jesus called them hypocrites (not the first time nor the last time he did that!), and asked them if they untied their donkeys on the Sabbath and led them out for water? (Of course they did, and He knew it).  You gotta hear these words from Jesus:  “Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?” (v. 16)  You can imagine how those leaders felt then!

Think about it ladies.  Eighteen years of being crippled, of looking at the world from a different perspective, of not being able to straighten up.  Such a long time to be bound by satan.

My mind goes to situations in my life when, though not for eighteen years, satan has crippled me.  Fighting for years the call of Jesus in my heart, all because I thought becoming a Christian meant living by rules that would only stifle me. Resisting ministry opportunities because I believed I didn’t have what it took to be an effective leader (side note–I didn’t have it, but my Jesus had it all covered).  Believing the lies whispered to my soul–“you aren’t good enough”

“You aren’t pretty enough.”             “You aren’t exciting enough.”       “No one will love you.”

                                “You might as well give in–he’ll like you so much more if you do.”

“No one will want to be your friend.”    

And oh, the destructive reactions I had to those.

And the one whispered over and over that I credit with prompting my most hurtful responses–“Jesus could never love someone as worthless, useless, dirty, and incapable, as you.”

Crippled.  That’s how I’ve been during portions of my life. I didn’t see my life the way I should have.  I didn’t see those opportunities as blessings.  I didn’t see myself as a beloved child of God.

And my sweet, if you were honest, you would probably find you’ve been there, too.

Oh my friend, even after we have accepted Jesus as our Savior, we are still soooo very vulnerable to attacks from our enemy.  You see, it is when we take those steps with Jesus that our enemy swoops in.  He looks to cripple us so we cannot continue to walk the path that has been set before us through Christ.  Make us doubt, make us stumble, or maybe even in ways we don’t recognize…cause us to withdraw from friendships, ministries, life.

Crippled Christians.  Wounded, weary, worn-out.  Perfect prey for the enemy…

It doesn’t have to end there, my sweet.  Remember our story?  Jesus didn’t leave that woman crippled…nope, He saw her and untied her from her burdens that had weighed her down so long.

Did you get that?  Jesus saw her.  He sees you, and me.  He knows what we’re dealing with, how we have been crippled through our own or others actions.  Our inability to stand straight is not trivial to Jesus–hear me, my dear–He wants to untie us from what keeps us stooped over.  He wants us to stand straight.

Standing straight.  Looking ahead.  With some weight on our shoulders, but not an overpowering, crippling load.  Matthew 11:28 is such a wonderful picture for those of us who feel crippled by the burdens on our backs…come to me

No more crippled.  No more stooped over.  No more seeing life through the perspective of someone who is overwhelmed.  No more…

My sweet, I have come face to face with my crippled status.  I don’t want to be that way anymore.  Will you join me in giving these things that cripple us, that weary us, that overload us, to the One Who will carry all our burdens?  Will you allow Jesus to free you from what binds you?  If so, pray this prayer with me:

Lord Jesus, thank You.  Thank You for showing me why I feel so tired, so worthless, so insignificant, so ill-equipped.  I know now that my enemy is doing his best to cripple me–and I’ve allowed him to do so.  But no more.  I come to You, my sweet Savior, and lay all of those things that want to cripple me, at Your feet.  I am weary and so burdened.  I need Your rest, Lord.  Free me from these things that cause me to be stooped over.  Stop the whispers that cause me to doubt.  Give me the strength to stand straight up and walk in the goodness of You.  I love You, Lord, and I pray these things in the strong and mighty name of Jesus.  Amen.

If You prayed this, would you mind praying this for me as well?

May we stand straight, bound no more, in the fullness of Jesus!

 

 

 

 

 

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