Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Persistence of a Desperate Mother

25 The woman came and knelt before him. "Lord, help me!" she said. 26 He replied, "It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to the dogs." 27 "Yes it is, Lord," she said. "Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master's table." 28 Then Jesus said to her, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted." And her daughter was healed at that moment. --Matthew 15:25-28 (NIV) 

This scripture has always bothered me. How could Jesus be so unkind to this woman who was desperate to get help for her daughter? I know there are a lot of cultural things going on here that we don’t understand. Jesus is in the district of Tyre and Sidon, a non-Jewish area. But still, the way Jesus responds bothers me.

According to my You Version Lenten devotional, it may have been some kind of a test. Usually it was Jesus who had these kinds of tests thrown at him, but this time, it was the other way around. Instead of giving up in the face of rejection, “The woman accepts Jesus' point of view and turns it to her own advantage. 'Yes,' she says, 'but the dogs under the table eat what the children drop!' We feel the buzz in the crowd. Great line! Well said! Nice job! And Jesus seems to agree. 'You have great faith! As you wish, so let it be done.' And the girl is healed.” 

I love how the devotional writer wraps it all up, “And we are left thinking: is that what we mean by faith? Faith to see how God's strange plan works, even though it isn't exactly flattering for us? Faith to cling on to everything Jesus says even when it's unexpected, and to pray in those terms rather than assume he's going to do what we want in the way we want it?” 

I believe the answer is “Yes.”

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I would love to hear from you! Let me know what you think and how I can pray for you. Most of us are carrying some pretty heavy baggage and the good news is, you don't have to carry it alone! You can lay it at the feet of Jesus, and sometimes we need help just letting go of our baggage and not picking it up again. We're in this together!