Then Jesus left Galilee and went north to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Gentile woman who lived there came to him, pleading, ‘Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! For my daughter is possessed by a demon that torments her severely.’
But Jesus gave her no reply, not even a word. Then his disciples urged him to send her away. ‘Tell her to go away,’ they said. ‘She is bothering us with all her begging.’
Then Jesus said to the woman, ‘I was sent only to help God’s lost sheep-the people of Israel.’
But she came and worshiped him, pleading again, ‘Lord, help me!’
Jesus responded, ‘It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.’
She replied, ‘That’s true, Lord, but even dogs are allowed to eat the scraps that fall beneath their masters’ table.’
‘Dear woman,’ Jesus said to her, ‘your faith is great. Your request is granted.’ And her daughter was instantly healed. Matthew 15:21-28
Recently a client opened up to me about her autistic son. He’s grown now, but is very dependent on his parents. This mother works a full-time job, plus she manages job coaches for her son so that he can build a work history and someday live in a group home. She told me how she crashed a meeting where she knew the governor would be and walked right up to him to talk about the impact of some changes on her son. The governor and other leaders at the meeting heard her and they responded to her story by changing their plans.
This woman, this mother, is not outspoken or aggressive. She is a woman on a mission to advocate the best possible situation for her son because she won’t always be here to care for him.
The Syrophoenician woman was in a very similar situation. She was not a Jew and she was not invited to follow Jesus or even be near him. The disciples and most other Jews felt the woman had no right to approach Jesus and ask for his help, so they tried to get rid of her. Yet she persisted, begged and pleaded. And Jesus responded by healing her child.
A desperate mother pleading for her child transcends time and boundaries. Right now, in our world, our civilized nation, desperate mothers everywhere are pleading for their own children. The sick child. The lost child. The transgender child. The black child. The Muslim child. The child who grew up and joined the police force. When a mother is desperate to save her child she will do almost anything.
Dear Lord, You are my strength and my power. Help me to hear all the desperate mothers in the world and to pray with them. Let me look to You and only You for love and protection of all that dwell on earth. Amen.
written by Denise Mainquist