The Bible is a supernatural book and can be understood only by supernatural aid.1

Take this story from Matthew 15:21-28 for example:

       Then Jesus left Galilee and went north to the region of Tyre and Sidon.  A Gentile woman who lived there came to him, pleading, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! For my daughter is possessed by a demon that torments her severely.”

But Jesus gave her no reply, not even a word. Then his disciples urged him to send her away. “Tell her to go away,” they said. “She is bothering us with all her begging.” Then Jesus said to the woman, “I was sent only to help God’s lost sheep—the people of Israel.”

But she came and worshiped him, pleading again, “Lord, help me!”

Jesus responded, “It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.”

She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even dogs are allowed to eat the scraps that fall beneath their masters’ table.”

“Dear woman,” Jesus said to her, “your faith is great. Your request is granted.” And her daughter was instantly healed.

I’ve read this story many times, each time glossing over it as quickly as possible because Jesus just doesn’t seem to be behaving as I think he should.  Today, this story wandered into my consciousness again, and I was finally disturbed enough to think about it, and ask for supernatural understanding, and what I found, is beautiful.

What I know about Jesus is that he is very intentional. It was not by accident that Jesus went north, I believe Jesus knew the encounter with this woman awaited him and he knew precisely how to engage her, for her own good and for his glory.   I’m fairly certain that it is consistent with Jesus’ character to be unconcerned with what others think, but to be more concerned with reaching to the very heart of a person, and if that means using an unorthodox method that may be misunderstood by the onlooker, but completely transformative to the individual involved, then so be it.

This woman could be me. I am a Gentile, and if my daughter suffered as her daughter did, there is no question I would do whatever necessary to see her healed. If a Healer was within my earshot, I would cry out as this woman did. But would I respond as she did? I hope I would.

She cried out to Jesus and “he gave her no reply, not even a word.” I’ve been there. I’ve cried out to Jesus and he gave no reply. At that point, I’ve given up. She did not. She made everyone crazy with her incessant begging for healing for her daughter. When Jesus finally did speak, he told her he wasn’t here to help her! What a blow! Yet she didn’t argue, she pressed in further. She could have ranted on the unfairness of it all, but she did not. She was unflappable. I would have caved, and wined, instead of pressing in further and pursuing Christ. She not only pursued, but worshiped him and again asked for help. She chose worship instead of pleading her case. She chose worship before her request was even considered.

Then, in what seems like a fatal blow to her desperate plea, Jesus says (and I paraphrase) “My power is intended for the chosen ones of Israel not for the undeserving Gentile.” There are so many things she could have said to that, so many ways she could have argued for why this was unfair, her pride, her sense of entitlement, her perceptions of her own goodness that might make her deserving of the Lord’s favor. But she chose instead to agree with Jesus, and say in essence, “Yes, you are right Jesus, I am undeserving, but if you would be willing just to share a scrap of your power it would heal my daughter, and I would be grateful.”

Agreeing with Jesus about who we are is always the best option and will ultimately lead to healing. Jesus gave this woman a rough time. But she pressed in and pressed in unabashedly and undeterred in humility. Her tenacity earned her the greatest prize, to hear the voice of Jesus say to her “Dear woman.”  After all that, it turns out she was dear to him all along! And then, as if being dear to Jesus wasn’t enough, he speaks the word, and her daughter is healed!

The take away?

  1. Prayers are not always answered immediately.
  2. To continue seeking Jesus in the midst of what we perceive as indifference builds our faith and character, and that may be what God knows we need more than a response to our prayer.
  3. Worshiping BEFORE a request is granted puts our hearts in the right place.
  4. Agreeing with God about who we are demonstrates the kind of humility God can bless.
  5. To a worshipful, humble, faithful heart, Jesus replies, “Dear Child, your faith is great, your request is granted.”

This story is a microcosm of the spiritual journey. This woman accomplished in moments what may take us a lifetime. I will no longer shun this story as difficult and awkward. I will look to it often as a reminder of what it looks like to be humble before an Almighty God.

1. A.W. Tozer: Man, The Dwelling Place of God

Advertisements

11 thoughts on “Tenacity, Worship and Humility: A Good Formula for Healing

  1. Hi Vicky – beautiful insight – I have always struggled with this portion of scripture and you have given me much food for thought!! Your Mom would be so very proud of your writings as I know your Dad is. Love to you and yours. B Malas Oregon

    1. Thank you Becky. It is definately a tough passage, and I’m sure there are many different ways to interpret it, but this is mine, at least for now… Blessings to you!

  2. Victoria,
    You gained great insight in this story. You are so right how many times do we think “well that is not how Jesus should have responded”! Just who do we think WE are?! One of the things that I am personally learning right now is to SIT with the scripture, soak, pick it apart…don’t just run past it because I don’t understand it…press in just like this woman did. Jesus wants to reveal himself and ways to us.
    As you described her tenacity I was reminded of the story about the blind man who was shushed by people when he began to try to get Jesus’ attention as he walked past. That blind man would have nothing to do with being quiet. He knew his miracle was walking past him right now and he wanted it!! He pushed through, pressed in and was healed. How many times do we miss OUR miracle because we are not tenacious?
    Great post, thank you for sharing. And thank you for reading along on my blog.
    Paige

    1. Thank you Paige! It seems you and I are in a similar season as we allow our souls to marinate in scripture. Thank you for sharing that complimentary story about the blind man. Both stories speak to crazy big faith and never giving up. Good lessons for us all.

      It is my pleasure to follow your blog. I really enjoy it!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s