Over time, however, I saw myriad challenges reflected in the women’s prayer requests. The year I taught the Book of Luke, I was struck by the disconnect between the promise of Jesus’ ministry and what I saw in women’s lives. In Luke 4:18-19 (NIV), Jesus announces his ministry with these words:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
The poor, the captives, the blind, and the oppressed would be freed – released from the constraints that block their ability to live out the life for which God created them. Jesus came to “to set the burdened and battered free…” (The Message).
The women who attended my class were dedicated, faithful, committed Christians. And they were burdened. Marriages were in trouble; spouses struggled with addiction; anxiety and depression robbed people of joy.
One week a young mother tearfully reported being devastated by learning that her husband was addicted to porn. She struggled to make sense of something in conflict with everything she knew about him. Her fear for the future and her anger over the betrayal was overwhelming. She was mystified and desperate for help.