The Problem of pain 

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We live in an age of incredible medical knowledge and technology.  Just the other day I myself needed a diagnosis for something and had multiple blood tests, ultrasound, echocardiography and computerized tomography all to give the doctors an understanding of what was going on inside of me.  I am so grateful to all that technology and medical knowledge and skill…

But then I read a passage like Luke 13:10-17 about the woman who could not stand up straight for 18yrs and the bible’s assessment of the source of the physical problem was not medical at all!

Luke the author was a medical doctor writing this gospel from eye witness accounts and he records the source of this woman’s pain and suffering over all these years not as some medical condition but as a result of a spiritual condition or influence.

Jesus, seeing her one day while teaching in the Synagogue heals her with a simple command declaring freedom for her from her infirmity and she is instantly healed, and she stands up straight there and then!

No operations, no physio rehab just freedom of movement and absence of pain.  Unsurprisingly, she is elated and glorifies God for this remarkable miraculous healing.

You could reply, but medicine in that era was unsophisticated and intertwined with the prevailing worldview of the day and so unknown conditions could have been attributed to spiritual forces but simply because of the deficit in medical knowledge when compared to today…

However, in vs16 Jesus is recorded by Luke as giving His perspective on what was the source of her problem.

“And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?”

Jesus makes it plain in making his argument with the synagogue ruler that the source of her pain and suffering had been bondage from satan, a demonic oppression sin her life.

The source of pain and suffering are not merely medical.  The source of pain can be physical, psychosomatic or spiritual or a mixture of these, and it will not always be easy to discern what’s happening.

In our modern era of incredible medicine technology and knowledge the source we are most likely to miss entirely is the spiritual one which the Scriptures indicate was the source of this woman’s suffering.

May I, may we have the discernment of Jesus to know how to help people in pain and suffering, not ignoring sources of pain merely because of our culture’s prevailing world view and so not praying as we ought to some times.

The good news is, regardless of the source of our pain or the pain of others, Jesus has authority in all realms, the physical, the mental and the spiritual!  So let’s thank God for medical technology and let’s pray with faith in the name of Jesus.

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