This is a chapter from my book, “They Met Jesus: Stories from the Gospels.” Hope you like it!
The Gentile Woman, Matthew 15:21-28
Then Jesus left Galilee and went north to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 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.”
23 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.”
27 She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even dogs are allowed to eat the scraps that fall beneath their masters’ table.”
28 “Dear woman,” Jesus said to her, “your faith is great. Your request is granted.” And her daughter was instantly healed.
I grew up watching the sea, it always brought me peace. I loved its serene beauty. My girl loved flowers. As a little child, I remember her making daisy chains, and the way she laughed. When the darkness came she was never was the same. I stood by and helplessly watched Satan consume my daughter.
She was sick. Sick with something evil and dark. Somebody said it was demons, but she was possessed by something I didn’t fully understand, and I had immense hatred for it. I was angry for what it had done to my precious little girl. I hated the darkness that stole her heart.
That’s when a neighbor told me about the Jewish healer that might help us. That gave me hope. We already wearing out our welcome at the local temples. We had recently returned from nearby Eshmun, a pagan temple specializing in healing. The priests knew us by name. But my daughter’s condition seemed to worsen.
I made the decision to see Jesus. As a Canaanite woman I knew it wouldn’t be easy. We were not Jews and we were accustomed to being treated poorly. I knew there would be conflict. But I would do whatever it took to see him. I believed he would help us.
We came to see Jesus at the house he and his disciples were staying at. Standing outside the door I began to plead for my daughter, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is possessed by a demon.” I spoke as plainly as I knew how. I spoke from my heart.
Jesus seemed to ignore my pleas. So I kept asking. I suppose I made his disciples uncomfortable, but you have to understand, I had no place to go. He had to heal her. I couldn’t go home without seeing him.
The disciple were advising Jesus to send me away. They knew I was a Gentile woman and they could take no time with me. I felt the silent rage of racial prejudice. Still I stayed, and I continued to beg.
Then Jesus finally turned to me and said, “I was sent only to help God’s lost sheep—the people of Israel.” My heart almost broke. But I knew if he would only listen to my need he still might help me.
I came and worshiped him and then I continued to plead. I must make him see, he was my only hope at that moment. “O Jesus, help me!”
I cringed inside. The Jews call the Gentiles dogs. I felt the rebuke and I struggled to respond.“That’s true, Lord, but even dogs are allowed to eat the scraps that fall beneath their masters’ table.” I firmly believed that was the proper thing to say.
Dear woman,” Jesus said to me, “your faith is great. Your request is granted.” And my daughter was instantly healed. In that moment she completely recovered. I saw the darkness lift and light returned to her eyes.
Yesterday my daughter and I went to the seashore together. I went to see the ocean and she picked flowers. She is completely recovered. My heart is full of praise to the Living God who hears a desperate woman’s cries. I know that he is full of mercy.
Jesus, many of the people I meet are sick inside, let me be a light for them to see by. Evil is all around, but you rule over it, Help me to see your power and grace. Amen.