If you come to me with a problem-whatever it is, I know Jesus can help you. He is the answer for everything. It’s what my Mom taught me. Through thick and thin in life, He was and is our refuge. While we are only flesh and blood, He is the Master of the Universe and quite able to rescue, help or heal. And His Word truly has wisdom, advice for all of us-every age! They are the very best gifts she could have ever given me!
This week I heard a story about two real women with big problems and I’ve been obsessed with it. I hope I can do it justice…
A mother sat down last week to read her Bible. She was over-whelmed with one of her children who was suffering. In the secret places of her mind, she admitted that it seemed like the possession of an evil spirit, but would never, ever admit it to anyone. She had been a believer and follower of Christ for many years. She knew His Word is true and was desperately seeking help. She had a devotional about women in the Bible and had read a few of them, starting at the beginning, but had shelfed it for many months. Today, it caught her eye. As she picked it up, she said out loud, “Lord, I need a word from You this morning. I don’t need a Mary story or a happy story. I need a story about a woman who was having a problem with one of her children.” She couldn’t recall any.
Instead of going from the front of the book, as usual, she started from the back, stopping at The Syrophoenician Woman in Matthew 15:21-28. (I had to look this up. I couldn’t remember ever hearing about her.)
As she began reading the story, tears filled her eyes. This was EXACTLY what she needed to read!
The story, one you will want to read, is about another woman-a Gentile from the area of Tyre and Sidon-who was desperate for help. Her daughter was “suffering terribly from demon-possession”. This current day mom gasped. She read on.
The Gentile mom kept calling and calling out to Jesus for help. The disciples told Jesus…they TOLD Jesus to send her away because she kept crying out. Seriously?! (Sometimes I want to punch them.)
But she would not give up. She went and knelt before Jesus and said, “Lord, help me!”
If you read the verses, it may seem that Jesus was being harsh with His words. He made a point to say that He had come first to the Jews. Then, she said the bravest thing, that even pets get crumbs from their owner’s table. She was asking for a little bit of leftovers for her daughter.
Jesus was wowed by her faith and granted her request. Matthew 15:28 tells: And her daughter was healed from that very hour. The devotion ended with one of the present day mother’s favorite Bible verses. Not some she just knew, but a very favorite: “As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people both now and forevermore.” (Psalm 125:2)
The current day Mom had a good cry when she finished her Bible reading. Never, ever had she heard about this Syrophoenician woman whose daughter was in crisis! But today, she knew exactly how she felt, this new Bible sister of hers. She would continue to pray for her girl, taking her problem to Jesus-Who always has the answers. She was thankful that God speaks personally through His Word.
Wow! I don’t think I’ll ever forget the Syrophoenician woman either! I would think she hadn’t had a decent night’s sleep in a very long time. As parents, we want to be able to fix all of our kids’ problems. She must have felt so helpless! And the poor daughter! She must have been exhausted, too! Mark 5 tells of a demon-possessed man who was literally “off the chain”. He was living in a cemetery, crying out and cutting himself. In Mark 9, we find a story of a father who took his demon-possessed son to Jesus. The demon kept throwing him into fire and water trying to kill him.
We are all living in difficult times. To be honest, most parents of teenagers have at some time wondered about demon-possession. (I’m sure my Mom did, too!) Evil is everywhere and we are all in spiritual warfare even if we don’t realize it. Ephesians 6:11-12 says: “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, authorities, and powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” That shows what is really going on.
Did this Syrophoenician Mom and daughter EVER quit talking about this story? Did the girl say, “Mom, tell me again what Jesus did!” Do you have stories like that? What are you teaching your kids-small or grown? Where do they see you go for help?
I used to secretly make fun of my Mom for having a Bible verse for every occasion. She could spit them out like a revolver-one right after another. I was an idiot. I was probably the reason she knew so many!