Check the Label
“When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, ‘Woman, you are set free from your infirmity’ ” (Luke 13:12).
Friend to Friend
Have you ever wondered if God even knows your name? Have you doubted His awareness or even His concern about what you are going through? Have there been times when you felt totally alone and worthless? I have. I can really relate to the woman described in Luke 13. Oh, our problems may not be exactly the same, but the feelings and emotions are – and so is the answer.
Jesus knew this woman. He knew she had been sick for 18 long years and that she had tried everything to be healed. He knew – but He looked past her pain and saw who she really was, and all she was created to be. He could have called her by name, but instead He said, “Woman.” Jesus included her whole identity in that name; everything she was at that moment, everything she had been in the past, everything she hoped to be in the future. He knew every detail of her life, and He loved her. And just as He loved this broken woman, He loves you.
Truth: Your identity was established before the world began, in the heart and mind of God.
This woman had been assigned an identity by the relentless illness that plagued her body. Anyone who knew her identified her by that illness. Her heart must have been filled with feelings of unworthiness. I imagine she felt unwanted and unloved. She must have felt like a nobody. But when Jesus saw her, He looked at her through different eyes and called her to Himself. With one word from Him, everything changed and would never be the same again. All of a sudden, she was somebody.
There she stood, sick and in pain to the point that she was completely doubled over. Imagine what she felt when she realized that Jesus was talking to her. He was calling her – an outcast. And when she heard His voice, she heard something she hadn’t heard for a very long time, if ever. She heard the unfamiliar but longed-for voice of love.
Many of us feel unwanted and unloved, but we can be assured that God knows us and loves us just as we are and right where we are, in the midst of our mess and sickness. One of my favorite verses of Scripture is Jeremiah 1:5: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.” Your identity was established before the world began, in the heart and mind of God. Before you were wanted or not wanted by human hearts, before you were planned or not planned by human minds, you were wanted and planned in the heart and mind of God. Created by God…for God. Wow! That makes you important. You are valuable—and the simple but almost unbelievable reason is that God created you. You can judge a product’s worth and value by looking at the one who made it.
Years ago, I had a garage sale to get rid of our old stuff so we could buy some new stuff. We especially needed a new sofa. Our old one was truly pathetic. I made just enough money from the garage sale to buy a new sofa, and headed for the furniture outlet. I walked in with a certain amount of money to spend and a definite idea of what I wanted, so I avoided the salesmen and began my search. I narrowed the choice down to two sofas. Both were in my price range – cheap – and both would work in my living room. I saw a salesman making a beeline for me, sensing a sale in the air. Before he could say a word, I whirled around and asked, “If I were your wife, which one of these would you tell me to buy?” Without the slightest hesitation he pointed to one of the sofas. Curious, I said, “Why did you choose that one?” He shrugged his shoulders and replied, “Easy. That one is a trusted brand name you will recognize and is made with quality. The other one is just a cheap imitation. You should always check the label.”
Take a look at your label found in Psalm 139:13-16: For you created my inmost being. You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful; I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
Grab hold of the truth that God knows you, loves you and is for you. And that is all you need to face whatever life brings your way.
Father, I want to thank You for loving me just as I am. Right now, I accept Your love as the priceless gift it is. Help me see myself through Your eyes. Teach me to understand the truth that my worth and value rest in You alone – not in the eyes of man. Today, I choose to step out in faith to become the woman You created me to be.
In Jesus’s name,