One Year

October 20, 2014

One year. It’s been one year.

This time last year we were visiting friends. A former church celebrating its years. Riding a combine and hugging necks. My two-year old running down the aisle of the church. A older woman describing him as “perfect” as she marveled at his joy.

And then a couple weeks later, he was gone. A double ear infection. A wrong prescription. Issues with the gut began. Skin paled. Eyes darkened. Voice quieted. Right side weakened. He went away. This child I had so loved beyond words or thought or images slipped from me while staying with us at the same time. One year ago.

And so the battle began. The fight to get him back. The fight to fix what was wrong. And it continues to this day.

We’ve lost a year.

It’s hard to live not knowing. Not knowing if tomorrow will be the day, the day we need for this to all turn around. There are days when we feel like another miracle is seeping through the crack under the door ready to jump into flesh and bone and body and show itself in all its glory. Other days we can barely make it a minute without falling to our knees, desperate tears wet on cheeks and shirts and carpet. Yet even on the hard days, a flicker of hope still burns, whispering that life is long and this is just a day and tomorrow will be better. So we hold on for that tomorrow.

My new hero is a woman in the Bible. She has no name. At least not one that’s listed. I hate how often that happens- women who go unnamed and we never know them. But this woman, this unnamed woman, is my new soulmate. She pops up in the gospel of Matthew with simply a descriptor: the Canaanite woman.

She finds out Jesus has arrived in the area and she knows he is able to do what no one else had been able to do. Her daughter, her child, is sick. Needs help. Really bad. And she finds out where Jesus is and chases him down, shouting, “Heal my child!” The disciples appear to be annoyed at her. I wonder if they tried to shoo her away before then lean over to Jesus and tell him to send her home- maybe she will listen to him and go away.

Jesus’ response is confusing. It doesn’t seem like a typical Jesus response. There are various thoughts on why he tells this woman she’s not included in his work. There are various commentaries that talk about various interpretations of Jesus’ jerk-like words. I recently preached on this text and got into those, but that’s not the point of what I’m talking about here. Because I’m talking about this woman. This hero of mine. This kindred spirit.

 

This person with three strikes against her: woman, Canaanite, and pushy.

Jesus gives her a curt response that claims to exclude her from the healing mercy he bestows so willingly on others. “It is not right to take the children’s bread and give it to their dogs.” No matter how much people want to water down Jesus’ response, it’s not a good one.

But this woman. This pushy, Canaanite woman. While most of us might walk away offended at such words, scraping up whatever dignity we have left, fuming in righteous indignation, this woman doesn’t seem to care what Jesus thinks of her. She takes his words- she accepts his pronouncement that she is like a dog. And she counter moves: “Even the dogs get the crumbs that fall from the master’s table.”

Even the dogs get the crumbs.

And her faith is enough to crack through the disciples annoyance, through Jesus’ responses. And she gets what she came for: his healing for her daughter. That very hour.

I love this woman. She’s become my soulmate these months. I have prayed her words a million and a half times, annoying the doors of heaven with my assault of prayer. I have begged for the crumbs- because I know that crumbs from Jesus are more than enough, more than enough for my son. I have laid on my face in the dust and refused to budge, refused to move, refused to let up.

And the most interesting thing has happened. As I have lifted my face from the dust of prayer, I have looked to my right and left and I’ve found you. I’ve found friends, laying on their faces in the dust, pouring out their love for my son, for me, for us in deep prayers. I’ve looked and seen whole congregations devoting themselves to asking for crumbs on our behalf. I’ve called more than once, and the masses have turned out, praying, praying, praying for Jesus to heal, to have mercy, to save.

This Canaanite woman did not have that. And she should have, I think. She should have had others who laid themselves down beside her pleading and joining her voice. She should have had people who would cry, cry, cry on her behalf, like I do. She should have had friends and strangers alike who would name her child before this healing Jesus until he wiped the crumbs down to them.

I get that. She didn’t. But I get that. We get that. And I have been astounded by that. Amazed really. On the worst days, lifted up by the knowledge that there are hundreds of people pouring themselves out on the dirt pleading for Jesus to touch every square centimeter of my son’s body. To ask for another miracle for the walking child miracle that lives in my home and heart.

And so we pass the year mark. And we pray there will not be another anniversary. But until the day we are done with this journey (and Lord, let that day be soon), we are honored, amazed, humbled, overwhelmed with the gracious hearts of people who are searching for crumbs… crumbs of mercy and healing.

 

One Response to “One Year”

  1. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.”

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