The disciples tried to turn her away.
Small wonder. She ruined their plans for a nice, quiet evening (Mark 7:24-25). It didn’t help that she was a foreigner… and a woman.
Still, the woman persisted. She didn’t care that everyone was annoyed with her. She wasn’t bothered by the criticism directed at her. She wasn’t even deterred by the disciples’ blatant insistence that Jesus kick her out of the house (Matthew 15:23).
Why? That Canaanite woman was a mother.
And her child was suffering.
So she was suffering.
“Have mercy on me!” she cried out to Jesus.
Jesus didn’t answer. He seemed to ignore her. That’s when the disciples piped in: “Send her away! Her wailing is driving us crazy!”
Jesus clearly had to do something. His response to the woman seemed cold: “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24).
I love the woman’s response to that and the exchange that followed:
“Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour” (Matthew 15:25-28).
One thing I love about the Bible is that it doesn’t simply list the miracles Jesus performed. It gives the “back story.” It records the conversation.
Much could be said about the woman’s great faith and refusal to believe that Jesus was unkind, despite His harsh words. Much has been said about her incredible response to His dog analogy.
What I love is Jesus’ choice of words. After commending the woman for her great faith, He granted her request with these words: “Be it unto thee even as thou wilt.”
The person Jesus healed was not the woman but her daughter. Still, He said, “Be it unto thee…” Jesus healed the daughter in response to the mother’s prayer and faith. According to His own words, the answer was for the mother. He gave it to her. He understood the mother’s love for her daughter. To bless her child was to bless her.
We can trust God with our children. The Bible is full of promises to parents. It is also full of commands to trust and fear not! God is trustworthy! He knows we love our children more than we love ourselves. When we commit them to Him, He can take even messes and turn them into something useful… for their good and His glory. Even when outward circumstances are awful, He can give “peace that passeth all understanding” (Phil. 4:7). The peace of God is not a delusion. It’s real… and it passes all understanding.
Nothing drives a mother to her knees quite like concern for her child.
But that’s good. There’s no better place to be.
Note: I would like to thank Stephanie S. Webber, my friend and former student, for the “featured image” of her son. I fell in love with it when she posted it on Facebook awhile ago, and it became the inspiration for this post.