"Remember, O LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old." (Psalm 25)
The problem with our eyes, with our ears, with our senses, is this: they will let you down. And to be perfectly honest, perceiving the mess, how often and how difficult it is to tell the difference between God and the Devil. And if you don’t think so: Ask Abraham, who heard this command from the LORD: “Kill your Son, your only Son, Isaac.” Ask Job: This is a loving God? Ask John the Baptist, imprisoned and later beheaded, for His name’s sake.
How many times have you faced the question, “What kind of God…?” You can fill in the blank with whatever the latest thing is. ”What Kind of God…?”
Read through the back and forth between Jesus and the Canaanite woman in Matthew 15. Grow in righteous indignation when Jesus, your Jesus (remembering His name means “the One who saves” or “the One who delivers”), seems to have no use for this woman. You must wonder: Is this God or the Devil acting in Matthew 15? What kind of God…? What kind of God does not answer her a word? What kind of God answers, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel”? What kind of God responds as He did to a woman begging for mercy, on her knees, begging, “Lord help me”? What kind of God says,” It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs”? What do you think of your Jesus now? He calls her a dog. He says you have no right to sit at this table.
The problem with our eyes, with our ears, with our senses, is this: they will let you down. And to be perfectly honest, perceiving the mess, how often and how difficult it is to tell the difference between God and the Devil. And what shall this woman say? “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”
And Jesus responds, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And, and don’t miss this, her daughter was healed at that moment.
And this woman, we know not her name, is praised for her humility, for her patience, for her prayers, for her perseverance, and for her faith. Seeing is believing? Not quite. She looked past what she could see and perceive, and held her Lord, the Son of David, to His promise.
And what of you? The reality is: “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the Master’s table.” And Jesus has enough. The crumbs were sufficient for this Canaanite woman, for Jacob wrestling ‘til daybreak, for you. He has come to be what you need. He has come as the answer to your prayers. Faith is not afraid to lay itself at Jesus’ feet: “Give me what I need, O Lord.”
So I imagine there are times you come to church and it feels pretty good. You come and you give back to Jesus for all that He’s given to you. And well you should; thanksgiving is always proper for a Christian.
I also imagine that there are times when you head to church, to see Jesus, like this woman, and the pain and desperation is as real as this: my daughter…suffering terribly. At that time, when you are stripped down to nothing, desperate, lowly, you will again know what she knows: the crumbs are enough, Jesus is enough, for you.
Jesus is the One who knows what it is like to be afflicted on all sides. Keep heading down this Lenten road. You know where you will find Him. For all this world might throw at us, for all the hurt, the pain, the sleepless nights, His crumbs are enough.
His crumbs are enough for you. His crumbs: Word. Body, Blood. We, with this woman, know who He is: LORD, Son of David. And we know who we are: recipients of mercy, dogs eating crumbs.
And then He’s pleased to say of you as He said of her: “You have great faith! Your request is granted.” And your sins are forgiven.
And the next time your eyes would deceive you, when you cry out, “What kind of God…?”, remember He is the kind of God who gives all that we need: crumbs to beggars like us.