Devotion an Prayer for Week of August 17, 2014

Meditation for the Week of August 17, 2014

  

“And [Jesus] answered, ‘It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.’ She said, ‘Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.’ The Jesus answered her, ‘O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.’ And her daughter was healed instantly.”    Matthew 15:26-28

 

The Canaanite woman in this story had heard of how Jesus was healing the sick and casting out demons. She had heard that He was passing through, and so she sought Him out, crying for Him to have mercy and relieve her daughter from the demon that oppressed her. But He didn’t say a word to her. He didn’t acknowledge that she was praying to Him. But she wouldn’t be stopped. Finally, Jesus did speak to her, what He said was a slap in the face: “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” Jesus called this poor woman a dog—right to her face! He said that she was unclean, a scavenger, a beggar.

If we were called dogs, we’d be offended. We’d think to ourselves, “I’m not that bad. I’m at least better than that other person—now there’s a real dog.” But that wasn’t the Canaanite woman’s reaction. She didn’t offer any insults back. She didn’t try to defend herself. Instead, she acknowledged her unworthiness and admitted that she was indeed begging. She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” She was simply waiting for her Master to drop something—some word, some mercy—so that she could be sustained. Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.”

There are times when we pray for others or ourselves and it seems like God isn’t listening. We pray for the same things day after day, but we don’t seem to get an answer. How often do we become frustrated during those times? How often do we want to lash out and rage against God, who isn’t doing what we ask? How often do we want to defend ourselves or bargain with God? How often do we do the exact opposite of what the Canaanite woman did?

The only answer is to admit our unworthiness. Because of our sin, we don’t deserve anything. The best thing we can do is beg for mercy. And when it seems like our prayers are falling on deaf ears, the only thing we can do is keep begging. And when it seems like God is turning away from us, when we’re afraid that even Jesus is too distant, we must learn to say: “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”

Your Lord is merciful. You’re worth so much more than a pet to Him. You’re His child. So keep praying. Keep crying out. Keep begging. Even if He doesn’t answer in the way you expect, Your Savior, who loved you enough to die for you, has much more than crumbs in store for you. His love and mercy allows you to hold on to Him in faith and look to Him for every good gift.

 

Our Weekly Prayer

 Merciful Father, I am undeserving of Your many blessings. In every trial and temptation grant me confidence in Your loving-kindness that I may look to You for all that I need. Hear my prayer, as You Yourself have promised to do. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.