She was an unwanted foreigner with very little societal standing; a member of a race that was shunned, spit upon, and worse. Her people were considered no better than animals and sometimes worse. She had asked everyone she could find for help, but time and again she went away empty-handed. Following untold sleepless nights full of tears and agony, the weary woman was on the edge of hopelessness and despair. If the need had only been for herself she probably would have resigned herself to defeat long ago, but it was for someone far more precious; her daughter.
The man was known for his amazing abilities and his compassion. He was so popular, that he often worked to the point of exhaustion helping everyone that came to him regardless of their need. Hunger; not a problem – lack of knowledge; he seemed to have all the answers – medical need; he was the best physician there was. As he came to the area where the woman was staying, he had pulled out all the stops to keep his presence a secret. He was looking forward to some much needed and well-deserved rest.
The secret didn’t stay hidden for long. When the word got out, the woman immediately knew that her day had finally arrived. She ran to him, fell at his feet and begged the man to help her daughter. She knew he had the cure, because she had heard of him helping many others with the same condition. As he turned to look into her eyes, hope surged within her – more hope than she had felt in a very long time. It is hard to imagine the gut-punch that his harsh response must have landed, “My own people are my priority. It wouldn’t be right to take food away from my children and feed it to the dogs.”
Most people would have given up right then and there. They would have gotten angry, defensive and thoroughly offended. This woman however, was a veteran of internal warfare. She wasn’t going to let any of that get in the way. She was on a mission and didn’t have time to let her feelings detract from her assignment. Instead, she simply responded, “What you have said is true, Sir, but even the dogs under the table are allowed to eat the scraps that fall from the children’s plates.”
I really want to meet this woman. Despised, dejected, a victim of racism and worse, but she let those offensive words roll off her back as if they are nothing. She remained focused on what was important. I would love to have seen the look on the man’s face when she responded as she did. He was obviously impressed, and probably smiled a bit, as he said, “Good answer! I’m going to grant your request.”
The man in the story, of course, was Jesus. The woman, a gentile, from the wrong side of the gene pool for the culture she lived in. Her daughter was possessed by a demon, and the woman was not going to give up until her daughter was set free.
In addition to the determination, character, integrity and fortitude that we witness in this woman, we also see that she was a woman of great faith in what Jesus could do. She referred to the deliverance of her daughter as mere scraps compared to Jesus’ great ability. She knew that although this was an impossible task for everyone else she had ever met, it was a small thing for God. She didn’t feel the need to express her right to be treated fairly or to demand an apology for the slur. Instead she assumed a posture of humility in body and spirit and asked Jesus to help. (Mark 7:24-30)
When the woman arrived home that day, she found her daughter completely delivered and at peace. The Prince of Peace had done it again, and all because the woman was more aware of the power and presence of God to meet her need than her own need to feel special.
Father help us to assume the posture of humility, knowing that even the scraps that fall from Your table are more than enough to make our lives wonderful. In Jesus Name, Amen!