This story still moves me. I discovered the thoughts in an old journal, but I pray God uses it to breathe fresh hope.
I’m getting just barely enough to survive. Drops of grace. Just when I think I can’t hardly take it, along comes one encouragement. But it’s just ONE. But at least it’s one.
I’m trying to be ok with drops of grace. I’ve stretched my mouth wide around a faucet waiting for ONE drop to sustain me. Is it enough? Barely. Reluctantly, but yes. Even one drop of God’s power, drives out darkness and heals.
This is what the Canaanite woman believed in the story of Matthew 15:21-28. She asked Jesus to heal her demon-possessed daughter, but Jesus completely ignored her. She cried out so much the disciples asked Jesus to get rid of her, she drove them nuts. Jesus said his focus was on the Israelites right then. Eventually, the woman abandoned all pride and groveled on her knees before Jesus. Her Maker spoke words that must have felt like a javelin piercing her soul, “It’s not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
In Bible times, dogs were what rats are today. Her Creator ignores her, seemingly insults her, refuses her and she still doesn’t give up?! I’m sure I would have gone home crying. Love for her daughter, or desperation, or both drove Rat-Woman to her knees before Jesus, even though he seemed intent on ignoring her. Seemed.
Rat-Woman accepted her destitute position before God and viewed it as an opportunity to be filled. Is this what strengthened her to respond as she did? “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” Did her voice crack and sobs wrack?
After she answers, Jesus mercifully ends this pre-planned test of faith and commends her, granting healing immediately. (“Immediately” after asking, crying out, persevering, begging, and coming to the end of herself.)
Her story stops there, but my questions begin. Did she shout for joy so people stared? (I mean, if they weren’t already.) Did tears unashamedly stream down her face? Did she raise grateful hands and face to heaven wordless and battle-worn?
Were the disciples humbled to see Rat-Woman granted her request and commended for amazing faith? Were they discerning enough to feel the indirect insult for their lack thereof?
Did it pain Jesus to hurt this precious woman temporarily? Did he love her in a special way the disciples hadn’t yet experienced?
I don’t know. But I cling to the hope that Rat-Woman had – there’s nowhere else to go. The truth isn’t to hurt me, it’s to test me. Even if it feels like a javelin piercing my soul.
When Jesus is silent despite begging prayers, a parched and open mouth cupped around a faucet that doesn’t yield, it’s a test of my faith. When the answer is a consistent, depressing silence, it’s a test. When others ask Jesus to send me away because I’m wearying them with the same prayer requests, it’s a test.
Rat-Woman staked her one chance on Jesus, unwilling to return to her old way of life and her demon-possessed daughter. She’d hang on if it killed her. It did kill her. I do know that.
Rat-Woman knew something so deeply it killed her. And resurrected her. With trepidation, I want that too. I know there’s no other way. It’s God’s way or bust. Just one drop of God’s power meant her life was changed, her daughter was healed, and her hope was permanently validated.
I will plead, pray, and persist until I hear Jesus tell this rat-woman that my request is granted. It’s not just about me. It’s about the healing of others, maybe only one. And if that’s what I have to offer God with my life, then may I offer him the best I can possibly give – his drop returned with interest.