A Word of Encouragement from Elizabeth Rice Handford
My long-haired dachshund Schatzi and I have an odd synergistic relationship that works to our mutual advantage and makes us both happy.
In my old age, I regret to confess, food sometimes falls off my fork on its way to my mouth (not that it didn’t when I was younger!). I never worry about sweeping up the crumbs, because Schatzi’s obvious mission in life is to keep the breakfast room floor free of crumbs. She watches me diligently for just such an accident, and she will be on the floor in seconds when she sees a crumb fall. Not a smidgin of food will linger there.
If my great-grandchildren are eating with me, Schatzi is especially alert, because odds are she’ll have a really satisfying meal from the crumbs that fall from the children’s plates.
The Scriptures in Mark 7:24-30 tell the charming story of a woman who asked Jesus to heal her little girl tormented by a demon. She lived up in the city of Tyre, and she wasn’t even a Jew; that’s one strike against her. She was biracial; that’s two strikes against her. And worst of all, in the opinion of most people, she was “just” a woman. Yet that non-Jewish, biracial woman had the audacity to ask the Creator of Heaven and earth, the Lord Jesus, to demean Himself to heal her demon-stricken little girl! How absolutely absurd!
At the beginning of her conversation with Jesus, you get the impression that He wasn’t at all interested in helping her. He answered her tearful plea coldly with, “It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.”
There must have been a twinkle in Jesus’ eyes, a look of deep compassion as He said this, in spite of His cutting words. She saw something that encouraged her to persist, because she immediately countered with, “”Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs under the table eat from the children’s crumbs.”
And miracle of miracles, He smiled at her. “For this saying go your way; the demon has gone out of your daughter.” Of course Jesus answered her request—He had intended to all along! So the Scripture says, “And when she arrived home, her little girl was lying quietly in bed, and the demon was gone.”
That same Lord Jesus wants us to come to Him with our heartaches, our losses, our impossible needs, and He expects us to take Him at His Word. He told us to ask, and it pleases Him when we ask Him to keep His Word. Philippians 4:6,7 (nlt) commands us:
Don’t worry about anything;
instead, pray about everything.
Tell God what you need,
and thank Him for all He has done.
If you do this, you will experience God’s peace,
which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.
His peace will guard your hearts and minds
as you live in Christ Jesus.
When you think about your great need, you may feel all the disadvantages of your position, the unworthiness of your claim, the holiness of God. But don’t let that stop you from asking. The Lord Jesus is waiting for your plea, with maybe a twinkle in His eye and certainly compassion in His great heart. He wants you to insist and keep praying until He answers. Meanwhile, let Him do in your heart the strengthening of faith, the cleansing from wrong-thinking, so His answer will be your blessing.