Given Freely Not Stolen

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

While re-reading the story of the woman with the years-long ongoing health issue that left her bank account empty, and her body weak, a thought came to me. The healing she sought from Jesus, and believed she had to steal, he freely gave.

As I contemplated this thought, another scene popped into my brain. A scene from Les Miserables. Perhaps you’ve either read the book, seen the play, or watched the movie, and know where I’m going with this.

At one point, in an act of desperation, ex-convict, Valjean, steals expensive silver candlesticks from the priest who took Valjean in and showed him kindness. The police find Valjean with the candlesticks and take him back to the priest.

Here’s the connection …

The priest shows mercy, and says he gave Valjean the candlesticks. They weren’t stolen. Before the priest in Les Mis lets Valjean leave, he gives one of the most important messages of the story. The priest shows Valjean he is a person of value, one the priest cares about. One who God cares about.

Valjean didn’t need to steal the candlesticks. The priest gave them freely.

The woman with the issue of blood touched the hem of Jesus’ cloak seeking healing. When she did, power flowed out of Christ, and the woman was immediately healed.

She didn’t need to steal the healing. Jesus gave it freely.

This woman was desperate. She had exhausted all her known resources. Out of embarrassment and being ostracized for her condition, she didn’t want to draw attention to herself. She just knew Jesus was her only hope for healing.

When Jesus felt the power leave him, he asked who touched him. In a crowd, lots of people touched Jesus, but only this woman was healed. Jesus could have gone on his way without requesting the woman show herself, but he didn’t.

Jesus wanted to offer the woman something more. Something important. He wanted her to know he cared for her and her concerns.

Jesus wanted the woman to know he valued her. Despite how others treated her, she was precious in his eyes.

Although her physical healing was what drew the woman to seek out Christ, she received emotional and spiritual healing as well.

Jesus is the Great Physician who heals all our hurts. We don’t need to steal his blessings. He gives them freely when we seek him out, come to him humbly, and acknowledge he is able.

We need no longer fear. We are children of God.

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Then the frightened woman, trembling at the realization of what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and told him what she had done.  Mark 5:33 (NLT)

I wish you well.


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Lip-sync, or Real-time?

The Les Miserables movie opened Christmas day, 2012, and the controversy began. Which is better:  pre-recorded songs actors lip-sync to when filmed, or actors who sing live while filming?

I’m not going to debate the issue either way. To me, Victor Hugo’s book, on which the movie is based, brings up larger, more important issues to consider. Grace, being one of them.

surfer wiping out

Surf Science

What this discussion did cause me to reflect on, is whether it is better to be a poser – a pretender – and lip-sync our way through life, or experience it, pain and all, real time?

Yeah, I can see advantages with going either way, depending on the situation and circumstances. Most of us have filters our life experiences flow through, coping mechanisms we initiate, when life whomps us upside the head. We lip-sync to get through. There are also times we experience unbridled emotions, where we live life real-time.

But what I zeroed in on, was relationship with God. Lip-synced, or real-time?

As a child, if we were told to tell someone, “thank you”, or “sorry”, was it lip-synced, or real-time? I believe if we had to be prompted, it may have leaned more toward lip-synced.

Does that same pattern follow in our relationship with God?

Do we lip-sync through the motions of singing familiar hymns, without allowing the words to touch our heart? Do we glaze over Bible verses we’ve heard and read many times before, and not experience the relevance of those verses real-time?

Are our acts of worship on auto-pilot-lip-sync, or feel-it-in-the-moment-real-time?

Several years ago, Sissy and I took our mother, and one of our aunts, to visit another one of our aunts at the nursing home. After our visit, the four of us stopped at a fruit stand to purchase fresh peaches and watermelon. This fruit stand also sold homemade peach ice cream.

Oh, my goodness…I sure am glad Sissy ordered the larger sized bowl for each of us, rather than the smaller, less caloric, one I proposed. WHAT was I thinking?

The four of us ate that ice cream with pure enjoyment…real-time. We experienced the sweetness. We pressed on past brain freeze, and savored the decadent taste of peaches and cream in our mouths.

There was no lip-synced, “Oh, my. Isn’t this pleasant?”

No sir-ee. We were living real-time, baby!

“This is the best! Turn the car around. Now! We have GOT to get some more!”

Which sadly, we did not do.

So back to Les Miz…is our relationship with God real-time, like when Anne Hathaway, who won the Golden Globe, and Academy Award, for Best Supporting Actress as Fantine, sings, “I Dreamed a Dream”, or are we merely going through the motions? Lip-syncing our way through life? Being transparent, or masquerading?

Personally, I’d rather eat fresh peach ice cream, than talk about it, any day.

Same with God. I’d rather experience him in my life on a personal level, than have some philosophical discussion about what that should feel like.

What are your thoughts on the subject? I’d love to hear from you.

I wish you well.



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