Martha Tidwell sat before me wearing a blue pants suit and a weary face. Four years ago she left her high-paying job as an accountant after having discerned, with her church’s help, that she was called by God to begin the process of becoming a pastor. Her husband, Ted, was supportive and quit his job as well so that they could come to Pittsburgh to begin her studies.
When friends gave birth last fall to Lydia, she was normal and healthy.
But three months later the seizures began, and she was diagnosed with a
rare genetic disorder, Aicardi Syndrome. Now she clings to life
precariously. In preparing for her death, her parents asked me for
funeral resources, and I suggested Jeremiah 1:4-10.
For all of his tears and lament, Jeremiah as portrayed in Jeremiah 1 is a bold young man mouthing off to God. Maybe the disrespect we sense in this exchange is not as dramatic as the disrespect that some of today’s youth display toward their elders, but it’s there all the same.
In a story that is unique to Luke, Jesus heals a nameless woman by giving her the freedom to unbend and stand up straight after she has lived for years in crippling bondage. The woman has not asked to be healed. She simply finds herself in Jesus’ presence—and that leads to healing and life for her. This beautiful story, however, is not without conflict.