The Long Years

“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?” (Luke 13:16, NIV).

I added the bold emphasis to this verse. When I read it the other day, those three words stuck out to me, “eighteen long years.” Jesus could have left it at “eighteen years.” But He didn’t. He added in His own emphasis, on how long those years were. A quick peek at the original Greek for this Scripture reveals that He did indeed use an accentuated phrase here. He put specific stress on the concept of her suffering being lengthy.

Why? Because this was the overflow of His compassionate heart. He was expressing deep empathy for someone that He loved. No, He was not acquainted with her personally. But as soon as He saw her, His heart overflowed with love for her and concern for her pain. He was a human, living in a human body, experiencing all the pangs of human existence. He knew how long a year was. He was living inside time. He knew that eighteen years was an incredibly prolonged time for a person to endure significant physical affliction.

His desire to set her free was not motivated out of a tit-for-tat with the religious leaders. This was not about who would “win the argument” about the propriety of healing on the Sabbath. Instead, His yearning to see her whole flowed out of who He was… and is forevermore. Our God IS love.

Today, He sees you, too, in your affliction. Has your painful circumstance been going on for “long years?” He gets that. He knows for Himself how time can feel like it is stretching out forever with no end in sight. And He deeply, deeply cares. His heart overflows for compassion for you. Listen to the reflection of His beautiful heart in the words that He spoke to this daughter: “Dear woman, you are healed!” (v. 12, NLT).

Yes, dear one, He sees you…

He hears you…

He knows…

He cares so, so deeply…

He is coming…

“And the Lord said: ‘I have surely seen the oppression of My people… and have heard their cry… for I know their sorrows. So I have come down to deliver them…” (Ex. 3:7-8, NKJV).


Jesus waited until He was thirty years old to start His public ministry, even though He knew from childhood who He was and who His Father was (Luke 2:49). Do you think the wait to see His destiny fulfilled felt long to Him, during those years of anticipation?

17 thoughts on “The Long Years

  1. Thank you Jenn for this wonderful reminder of the personal care given to us by our personal Savior. What comfort!
    I do wonder occasionally about the early adult years of Jesus; what it must have been like, what kind if thoughts were in his head. But I don’t spend too much time there, for Holy Spirit brings me back to the Scriptures we do have and the endless truth found within. So while it can be fun to ponder what we do not know, I believe we honor the Lord by reading/studying/meditating on what has been given us.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I like Chuck’s thoughts about “what we do not know.” Sometimes it is enjoyable to speculate, e.g. like I do about the End Times, but we MUST keep the Scripture paramount. If it says it, we can stake our lives on it; if it only hints, we can only hint; if it is silent, I probably should be, or at least be VERY careful about my speculations. 😉

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  3. Can you please explain to me
    why the suffering and the need,
    the oppression,
    the murder of women by men,
    is still the order of the day?


    1. When humans turned their backs on God back in the beginning of history, sin brought a curse into the world. When the end comes and He brings the new heaven and the new earth, there will be no more curse. How indescribaby beautiful that will be!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I suffered through many long years with cancer, and now still suffer with the after-effects. Even after healing, there is a new normal. Life does not return to what it was. And why should it? We are changed by the suffering, and by the healing! I would also like to know what we are not told — what was this woman’s life like after healing?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so very much for sharing from your heart, dear Janet! Suffering really does change us in such fundamental ways, especially when it is so prolonged. I am deeply grateful for His faithfulness to you. And that is SUCH a good question. What must her life have been like?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. All of life’s experiences, even the long years of wilderness or suffering are as nothing in the light of eternity. All of this mortal life, if we are journeying IN THE WAY of Christ and accepting His Sacrifice to save our souls eternally, is part of our humanity and maybe for our legacy to others so they may be strengthened, inspired or encouraged. When you face a major crisis ie radiation, chemotherapy, operation etc. how much time do we spend looking around at ‘others? Yet, how often do we hear for eg. about Tom who smiled after his leg was amputated’. or Jane who was praying as she went to theatre but looked peaceful. May we continue to learn to be like Him,,,,,,,in the midst of it ALL.

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    1. Thank you so much, beautiful Faye, for this reminder. I needed it today! So grateful that our current troubles are temporary and light and achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all!


  6. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.”
    2 Corinthians 1:3-5


  7. I needed this encouraging Word, and can tell by the titles of your next few out that God is speaking through you for me right now. Thank you yet AGAIN for your faithfulness and obedience! What testimonies of His faithfulness! ❤️🙌

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Something I am reminded of sometimes is how I am human, no better or worse than anyone else, but with God’s grace I can choose to share love and kindness. The pain I have felt in my life is a useful reference for me to remember how far I have come with God’s assistance, and to be there for others who are going through times of pain.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Beautifully expressed. Reminds me very much of this Scripture:

      2 Cor 1:3-4
      Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God

      Liked by 1 person

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