29 June, 2022

April 24 | Application

by | 18 April, 2022

Nails on the Road

By David Faust

I noticed a rusty nail on the pavement as I walked across a parking lot the other day. The nail was more than an inch long, large enough to puncture a tire. I stooped down and picked it up, hoping to save myself or someone else from getting a flat tire.

It’s unnerving to realize how many sharp objects are on the road—screws, nails, bolts, and jagged pieces of metal—that can penetrate a tire. Our cars roll over many of these hazards without harm, but even a small hole in a tire can cause a slow leak or a sudden blowout. A nail on the road can delay our travel plans, or worse, lead to a serious accident.  

Eighteen Long Years

The road of life is littered with perils. Often, we manage to glide over the hazards and keep going, but a small nail can lead to a slow leak or a major blowout in our relationship with God.

Consider the plight of the woman Jesus encountered in Luke 13. Like nails on the road, her difficulties sprang from three sources.

The first nail was physical pain. “She was bent over and could not straighten up at all” (Luke 13:11). Back pain can be excruciating, and in those days, there were no orthopedic surgeons, chiropractors, or physical therapists available, nor could she go to a pharmacy and buy pain relievers to ease her discomfort. Her bent-over posture must have affected her state of mind as well. It forced her to keep looking down. Jewish believers customarily lifted their heads and hands in prayer, but this woman couldn’t worship that way. It wasn’t easy for her to see where she was going, to walk along gazing at a sunny sky, or to look her friends in the eye.

The second nail was demonic oppression. There are different reasons people suffer, but in this case the woman “had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years” (v. 11). Jesus affirmed that Satan had bound her (v. 16), so some sort of spiritual bondage evidently added to her physical pain. Satan brought Job all kinds of trouble. Our adversary tosses nails on the road, using any tools at his disposal to destroy our faith. Peter compared the devil to a roaring lion that prowls around looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).

The third nail in this woman’s predicament? Enduring years without any relief. Her crippling condition was no temporary malady. According to Jesus, she had suffered for “eighteen long years” (v. 16, emphasis mine). Years seem longer than usual when they are filled with suffering. Imagine living with debilitating pain for the length of time it takes a baby to grow into a high school graduate. Eighteen long years indeed.

Hands That Bring Freedom

Jesus used a few short words and the miraculous touch of his hands to bring the woman physical healing, spiritual freedom, and a new perspective on life. After encountering Jesus, “she straightened up and praised God” (v. 13). That’s what happens whenever sinners come to the Lord with trusting, repentant hearts. We straighten up and praise God!

On the journey through life, we encounter lots of nails on the road. That’s why we need the Lord Jesus as our traveling companion. At the cross he literally took the nails in his own hands.

Personal Challenge: Jesus’ compassion caused him to step outside religious norms to care for those in need. When he did such things, “he was being carefully watched” (Luke 14:1). Others watch us closely, too. They want to know if our faith is real and our love is genuine. They scrutinize our behavior to see whether we are more interested in religious rules than in human needs. What matters more to you: caring for those who hurt, or keeping up appearances?

Christian Standard

Contact us at cs@christianstandardmedia.com

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