Rise Up in Peace

Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”                                                                                     –Luke 7:50

The history of the pharisee and the sinful woman, which is found in Luke 7:36–50, is one that presents forgiveness, salvation, and faith. The Bible tells us that Jesus was invited to eat at the house of a pharisee named Simon. In that city, there lived a woman of dubious reputation who was noted for her bad life. That woman knew who Jesus was and what He could do. She went to the pharisee’s house and entered the activity. She went to where Jesus was, and given the magnitude of His presence, she prostrated herself before Him and quickly began to cry. Tears flowed profusely down her cheeks. And so, she knelt before Jesus, wet His feet with her tears, and kissed them. With her long hair, the woman dried the Lord’s feet. The woman had an alabaster jar full of perfume, which she also poured on Jesus’ feet. Faced with such a scene, Simon judged the woman’s life externally while Jesus valued the sincere and deep repentance that existed in her heart, through her act. Jesus told Simon another small parable—He taught that he who is forgiven for a greater debt will love that act of forgiving more. Jesus, in regard to the humility of the woman’s heart, told the woman: “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

The experience of forgiveness and salvation lived out by this woman is what each of us has gone through. Her faith saved her. She believed in God’s grace and accepted it. I still remember when I accepted the Lord at age 13 and when I was reconciled with Him at 33, both of which were some of the most beautiful experiences of my life. At each of those experiences at different stages of life, I felt in my heart the assurance that I was being forgiven and accepted. That faith provoked joy to recognize that I was genuinely liberated by our Savior. Experiencing God’s forgiveness causes our lives to be transformed, and we are healed, freed, renewed, and restored for the glory of His name. Forgiveness has a restorative effect that renews all areas of our lives. And it is there, at the feet of Jesus Christ, that we find salvation, forgiveness, hope, and peace.

My beloved sisters, do you have any situations that take away your peace? Our Father gives us the opportunity every day to come before His presence and talk about our matters with Him. His love is so great that He invites us, through prayer, to go before the throne of grace to present everything that takes away our peace. Let us prostrate ourselves with faith in His presence and leave everything there that takes away our quietness and joy. At His feet is where we will receive consolation, acceptance, forgiveness, hope, and peace. And again, our beloved Jesus will say, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Rise Up Like Hannah

The name Hannah is a palindrome because it is read the same backwards and forwards. Like her palindrome name, she demonstrated her steadfast faith when she was feeling down and in anguish and when she was rejoicing after receiving an answer to her prayers. Hannah was a faithful woman no matter which way you look at her life, backwards or forwards. She trusted God and acknowledged His power and goodness when she was praying for a son, when she had her son, when she felt an intense grief, and when she felt exuberant joy.

Hannah was facing difficult and challenging circumstances that turned her to the Lord in persistent prayer. She was one of two wives of Elkanah—the other was Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none. Peninnah kept provoking Hannah because of that. Nowadays, we would say that Peninnah was bullying her. Hannah felt discouraged and anguished. Despite this difficult family situation, she prayed and wept for a son, promising to dedicate him to God.

She received an answer to her prayer—in 1 Samuel 1:17 Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.” Hannah then gave birth to Samuel and presented him to God, just as she had promised. 1 Samuel 2:21 says, “The boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord.”

God not only blessed Hannah with the birth of Samuel, but He also gave her three more sons and two daughters. Samuel was used by God; he became a prophet, he anointed Saul and David as kings and served as a judge and as a priest to the nation of Israel.

Hannah trusted God. What about you? I think Hannah would tell you to keep praying because God answers prayers. All we know about Hannah’s life is just in the first two chapters of 1 Samuel, but she stands out as a reminder of faith—to trust in the Lord and the power of prayer.

In the first chapter of 1 Samuel, Hannah was in deep anguish, pouring out her heart to God. In chapter two, Hannah prayed again, but this time, expressing her joy, she worshiped and celebrated the sovereignty of God. Hannah rose up!

Bold Steps of Faith

Not long ago, I experienced a great deliverance from a painful period of emotional and spiritual distress. Along with other trying circumstances, I grieved the death of my father from lung cancer, my husband’s unexpected diagnosis of throat cancer, and the death of my father-in-law due to heart failure—all within a year span. That mourning remained resounding like an echo in the years to come, leaving me completely broken. Sadness clouded my faith and my calling. It was as if a great blanket of grief and sorrow had settled over me, preventing me from moving forward.

I was desperate for healing, so I took bold steps of faith, which led me, without shortcuts, to the only source of freedom and peace—my Lord Jesus. He came to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom to the captives, and to give sight to the blind. I qualified in all of those categories. Only Jesus could do His perfect work in me once again. Despite feeling embarrassed, I chose to be brave enough to ask for expert help for me to heal and see things from a gospel perspective again.

The woman with the blood issue from Mark 5 is someone I can greatly identify with. She was an afflicted woman. And what an affliction! She went through a trial that was not short; Scripture says that it lasted 12 years! We can infer that she had become poor because she spent all her resources to be treated by many doctors without success (Mark 5:25–26). Adding to her physical scourge, she was called “impure,” which practically impeded her from touching anything. Everything would be impure because of her—the bed, the chair, the sheet, the people she touched (Lev. 15: 19–33). Can you imagine what that would do to her soul year after year? Even more pain—a soul kind of pain! But soon she would put an end to all that by bravely deciding to go, overcoming all protocol, to reach the Healer.

Just like this woman, Jesus continues to be powerful, to heal the “impure” of our present. Many broken souls need to run to Jesus and touch Him now. So, rise up and go as if nothing else exists around you. Go and overcome all social, legalistic, religious, emotional, and even spiritual obstacles. Now is the time to navigate through the “crowds,” of personal excuses, lack of faith or time, unbelief, sin, and many other obstacles‚—even worrying about what people may think or say about you. All of that will just prevent the long-awaited encounter. Verse 34 tells us that Jesus heals in response to faith: “Then He said to her, “Daughter, your faith [your personal trust and confidence in Me] has restored you to health; go in peace and be [permanently] healed from your suffering” (AMP).Can you imagine how she felt after such an encounter? Not only was she healthy in body but also in soul; her affliction was over! Jesus’ peace filled her. She was truly freed from the “scourge” of her body, and verse 29 says: “Immediately her flow of blood was dried up; and she felt in her body [and knew without any doubt] that she was healed of her suffering” (AMP).

So, beloved, will you rise up and dare to touch Jesus’ robe? Just do it for you. You have to want it. Lower the volume of any legalistic voices that try to hinder your path to Jesus, voices that deceive you and tell you that Jesus is too busy healing or resurrecting others. In Mark 5, Jesus was on His way to resurrect Jairus’ daughter (interestingly, Jairus in Hebrew is Ya’ir, which means Will God illuminate? Will He shine? Will He awaken?). Yes, all of that! Jesus is perfectly capable of healing as He awakens others! He wants and is willing to pause in His journey to give YOU the attention you have desired for years. You are not an interruption to His agenda. You are part of His divine agenda!

Proverbs 13:12 encourages with this declaration: “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when desire is fulfilled, it is a tree of life.” She encountered the tree of life, Jesus Himself, and her faith helped her find the peace and healing she had long awaited in Jesus, the Resurrection, and the source of life.

Would you rise up and touch Him now?

Rise Up with your YES

As a little girl who loved to take charge, Deborah was one of my heroes! God allowed her, a woman with great responsibility as a judge and prophetess for the people of Israel, to lead a military charge against their enemies. It all sounds very glamorous until you stop to consider some difficult moments Deborah might have faced in this adventure. We know she was married, so this foray into military maneuvering required her to be away from her family. And not only to travel, but to travel with men into a “man’s world,” a soldiers’ campground. Did you ever stop to consider if Deborah might have lacked privacy or adequate restroom facilities?

But Deborah chose to rise up! She understood that she would get the honor for this military victory, but also that a tremendous challenge was before her. Deborah stepped in where another leader would not. And although it seems that Barak had sidestepped his responsibility, Deborah graciously accompanied and encouraged him to lead in the battle. She tells him, “Go! . . . Has not the Lord gone ahead of you?”

How had God gone ahead of Deborah? While we don’t know the details of her early life, when we meet her under the palm tree of Deborah in Judges 4, she is described as a prophetess, the leader of Israel, and someone who decides disputes for the people of Israel. Surely that didn’t happen overnight. To hear God speak so clearly, she must have tuned her ear to listen for His voice, to respond to His commands. She must have said yes to Him time and time again before she said yes in this big moment.

We just celebrated Christmas and were reminded of another woman who gave her “yes” under very different circumstances. Mary said yes to bearing the Son of God. Who can forget her gracious words? “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said” (Luke 1:38). Mary also faced difficult circumstances and was likely misunderstood many times. But what we remember so many years later is her yes.

Where is God asking you to rise up? In what situation do you need to give your yes to Him? It may be bold, brave, and very public. Or it may be quiet but equally risky. Will you listen for His voice? Will you say yes?