“First let the children eat all they want,” he told her, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
“Lord,” she replied, “even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”
Then he told her, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.”
She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.
After a long and lonely trip, this mother finally meets up with Jesus. And what does Jesus do? He basically tells her to go to the back of the spiritual line.
Jesus’ reaction might seem harsh or uncaring, but there was a loving and reasonable reason for it. His words tell us that his top and only priority was to the Jews.
Yes, he was and is God, but he was also only one man. He had all the limitations of a single individual, so he had to pick his targets well. He only had so much time and energy.
The woman doesn’t puff up her chest and throw a fit. She doesn’t yell about how unfair it is. She doesn’t take to Twitter, sparking a global debate or protest. She doesn’t post a selfie or video blasting Jesus for his intolerance and insensitivity.
No, she respectfully responds. She starts with his words and then expands on them in her answer. She paints a word picture where she, even in her unworthy state, receives a hearing and a healing.
Even though she’s got all this going against her, she receives a most positive and welcomed answer from Jesus. She’s a woman of faith.
Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.
When we come to God, looking for answers, healing, how do we come? Do we put up a “drive-by-shooting” prayer where we throw up a quick-one and that’s it? Do we put God on our timeline, when it’s convenient for us, meeting our expectations and schedule?
If, and when, we do this, we’re not people of faith. We’re people of impatience, focused alone on ourselves. We’re people of arrogance, telling God to meet us where we are. But faith is just the opposite – it’s when we put God first, going where and when he says.
But this woman of faith, goes out of her way, ignoring all the reasons that everyone told her that she shouldn’t seek out Jesus. When she finally meets with Jesus, she pleads her case repeatedly and with passion. And when God’s immediate answer is not in line with what she wants, she respectfully responds, using his words to plead her case.
She certainly sounds like someone that we should mimic. But we’re too impatient to follow her. She walks, we run. She listens, we talk. She responds, we do our own thing.
Jesus says that she has faith. Her faith wasn’t saying the magic words. Or doing one thing. It was the entire way she responded to Jesus. She listened and humbly answered. She was willing to put herself and her daughter under the table, in the place of humility.
Today is the day for us to put ourselves in the same place. To humble ourselves before Jesus. Not demanding anything but telling him all our cares and fears. He knows the best way to handle them. He even knows the best timing for them to be removed. Or not removed at all.
She didn’t receive the Christian of the Year award. She wasn’t even interviewed for a podcast. She just went home with Jesus’ words and promise that her daughter was healed.
She really didn’t know until she walked into her house and saw her daughter lying in bed. Then, and only then, did she see it for herself.
There was nothing immediate for this woman of faith. There was no lightning bolt in the sky to announce the healing. But she believed and walked home to find it just like Jesus said it would be.
Shouldn’t we do the same?