Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Then She Came and Worshiped Him, Saying, "Lord Help Me."

In times of plenty, its very easy to worship God. Its as if there is a tangible reason to exalt Him when you have your health, wealth and good fortune.

But this is the thing: character is seen in how we respond to God when it seems like everything is going haywire and God seems far far away. There is a woman in the bible that I admire a lot. She's only spoken of in seven verses. She's unnamed. Not much is known about her. But we do know one thing: She had a great faith.

In Matthew 15, the Bible speaks of a woman from Canaan who saw Jesus on the road and cried out to Him for help. In the NKJV, verses 22-25 say:

22And behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same region and cried unto Him, saying, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Thou Son of David! My daughter is grievously vexed with a devil."
23But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and besought Him, saying, "Send her away, for she crieth after us."
24But He answered and said, "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
25Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, "Lord help me."

I think that these verses are so powerful! This woman cried out in a time of agony and heard nothing from Jesus. She cried out so persistently that the people around Jesus -His disciples- asked that He send her away. She was so alone in that moment. It seemed like compassion was so far off. When Jesus said that she was outside of His jurisdiction, the woman still pressed on. She went to Jesus and worshiped Him still. This is such a beautiful thing. When her circumstances and the people around her urged her to give up and go away, she only sought Jesus more. She worshiped Him.

I learned so much from this woman in only seven verses, people. The next three verses read like this:

26But He answered and said, "It is not meet to take children's bread and cast it to dogs."
27And she said, "Truth, Lord; yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table."
28Then 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.

After the woman worshiped Jesus, she still didn't get the answer that soothed her aching soul. You see, this woman was from Canaan, and the Canaanites were a people that worshipped false gods and didn't adhere to the ways the Israelites. Because of this, the Israelites were warned on many occasions not to follow the ways of the Canaanites; not to marry them or to worship their gods. So, when this woman from Canaan asked Jesus for a miracle, He told her that it just wouldn't be right for Him to give to her the same things He gave to the children of promise. The woman pressed on still, telling Him that she didn't care. She would take the leftovers. She would take the crumbs.

That is amazing...

After being pushed away many times, this woman knew that in Jesus, she found her only hope. She refused to give up. She pressed on until Jesus looked at her with a new respect; a respect for the magnitude of her faith. And after pressing on in worship and in intense pleading, her miracle was granted. Her daughter was healed.

Let's think back to the last time we worshiped Jesus even when it seemed like our worlds were ending. Let's remember the last time we were persuaded to the point of no return. We are no longer on the outside of the Promise. Through Jesus' blood we are taken into a beautiful and gracious covenant. We are God's children. We get the bread from the table, not the crumbs. Let's not settle for less. Let's worship and praise and pray and serve until we are given our rightful seat and our rightful portion.

I learned a lot from this nameless and faceless Canaanite woman. Perseverance built on persuasion. Worship in the face of turmoil. Faith in the face of adversity and rejection. Character.

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