What would it be like to be a woman of the most hated gentile race? To know you are hated and despised by the Jews. To be called a dog and to live in a place so dark that the Jewish religion never pierced it. A place so evil that every type of ungodliness could be found there. To be an alien, to have no part in the promises of Abraham, to not have any real hope and to be without God. Left out, rejected.
What would it be like if you were this woman? And now your daughter is very sick. Perhaps your daughter is the only real thing that matters to you – but no one can help. There is no one you can call on. It all seems so hopeless – and all you can do is cry.
It was the least likely place to find Jesus and the least likely place that someone would go to find rest. But this was a time when the crowds wanted to make Jesus a King and this was the least likely place to look for him. He found a Place to stay here and he went into it. He really didn’t want anyone to know where he was. Jesus was in Tyre, the enemies camp and a land where it seemed nobody would know him. And yet, even here in this dark place, word got out about this man. Here was the one who worked miracles in Israel. Here was the one they called the Messiah. Here in this dark place was a bright shinning light that could not be hid.
The woman heard that the man was there, and suddenly she felt something deep inside that she had never felt before. She felt hope! Finally here was a man of God, a preacher of righteousness, someone who would listen. Finally here was someone who could heal her daughter. She wasted no time and ran to meet him.
She approached the group of men, they saw her coming and tried to shield the Lord from her. They thought of her as something unclean and worthless when it comes to the heavenly matters. She cried out with pain and tears “Have mercy on me thou son of David”, I need your help, my daughter is really sick, please listen to me. Her pleas turn into cries, her cries turned into screams. She knew this man was her salvation and she could not bear to leave empty.
If Jesus heard her, he did not answer – but he did not send her away either. The disciples begged him to tell her to leave, to get out. They didn’t want her around, they didn’t want her bothering them. Jesus said “I was only sent to the lost sheep of Israel”.
Now the woman broke through the men and fell before him, she pleaded “Lord help me”. Their eyes met – he saw her desperation, he saw her determination, he saw her pain. He spoke directly to her. His words were gentle, (he actually used the Greek term for puppies instead of the harsher word of dog.) He said “It is not right to take the children’s bread and to give it to puppies”.
Everything was working against this woman. Where she lived, who she was, how the disciples viewed her, and now it seemed – even the plan of God.
But this woman seemed fully aware of her difficult state. She knew that salvation would be through the Jews. She knew that a son of David would come who would listen to her pleas. If this truly were a man of God – he would help her.
She replies “yes, that is true, but even the puppies eat the crumbs that fall off the Master tables.”
To hear such great faith from a hated race. To see such humility come from the ignorant part of the region. To see someone who was despised and rejected of men, a person filled with sorrow and grief, a person who believed in the God who could heal. Jesus just could not hold back anymore! It didn’t matter now whether it was time or not. She had touched his heart. “Your faith is Great, Let it be done for you as you want”.
That day the woman learned about the true God. Not the God that the Pharisees taught. Not the God that the religious leaders taught. Not a God of rules and regulations, of hate and arrogance. But a God that is merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin. This was the God that the leaders of the people had forgotten about – but this is the God, who through His Son now helped this woman.
This woman would always remember this moment. Years latter when Paul stopped in Tyre he looked up the disciples that lived there. No doubt that they talked about this day when Jesus visited them. Paul would see many men, woman and children who had become disciples in this forgotten place. But whose love was so strong for God that when it came time for Paul to leave, all of them with their wives and children walked with him out of the city and they all knelt on the beach and prayed together. A very beautiful scene. These believers knew the love of God.
You see then how God loves those who trust in Him. Over and over again in scriptures, God gives his mercy to those who call on Him. Why then, do we choose not turn to the Lord in our troubles?
I don’t know what the road blocks are in your life. Maybe you don’t feel worthy enough to come to the Lord. Maybe you feel rejected by those around you. Maybe you just don’t believe that there is a God who saves. Maybe you feel lost and all alone, and that no one knows your pain. Maybe you just don’t care anymore.
Don’t end your life at the road block. That’s a sad dark place. Instead, be like this gentile woman, who regardless on how many things were going against her, and how dark the time was - she persisted. She put her faith in the God that Saves.
So today, let your cries go up to the Lord in Heaven. Plead with him to rescue you from your troubles. Hope in that better life to come. Use the strength that he gives you to conquer the things you wrestle with. Let him look into your eyes and see your desperation, let him see your determination, let him see your pain. By doing so, you can touch the heart of the Lord! And He will take care of you.