Are You Under the Table Too?

Thanksgiving Feast

On a recent Sunday, my pastor spoke on Matthew 15:21-28. It’s an interesting passage.

The interchange between Jesus and a Canaanite momma imploring Him to heal her daughter is quite challenging.

Jesus doesn’t respond how we would expect.  He seems a bit rude.  (I can’t believe I just wrote that Jesus appeared rude.  That seems exceedingly cheeky on my part.)

Although I have to admit not necessarily understanding Jesus’ way in dealing with this Mom, I trust that He knew what He was doing.  I trust that He had a plan to bring her and even His disciples to a deeper understanding of Him and themselves.

My pastor said, “Jesus intentionally reaches out to us in ways we don’t like or understand in order to show us what we really need.”

Jesus is always intentional in His interaction with us.  Always was always will be.  All that the Lord allows to happen in our lives is purposeful… and God will use it all for good.

What got my attention in this passage wasn’t necessarily Jesus’ response, but the momma’s response to Jesus.

She was desperate and willing to do anything to get her daughter healed.  I think I’d be the same way. Persistent and insistent.

At first Jesus doesn’t answer her pleading.  In fact, His first words are not directed to her.  He responds to the disciples when they ask him to send her away because she’s annoying them.

He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (v. 24)

I wonder if that wasn’t for the disciples in a way.  Maybe to challenge them to see her as a person in need rather than just a Canaanite.  I don’t know…my pastor didn’t mention that.  🙂

Her response is what gets me though.

But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” (v. 25)

She is undeterred.  She isn’t bitter or angry at Jesus’ words.  She knows that He is the source of her daughter’s healing.  Maybe what Jesus wants her to grasp is that He is also the source of her healing…her spiritual healing.

And He answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” (v. 26)

Again, she doesn’t take offense.  I think at this point I might have.  But not her, she is single-minded.  Being desperate definitely gives clarity of what’s important and what isn’t.

She knows the source of her help.

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come.
My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:1-2

I found this to be true for myself.  When my husband announced his plans to leave, I was desperate to save my marriage.  The word desperate doesn’t even seem to capture the way I felt.  I couldn’t imagine losing my husband and the father of my children.  It just couldn’t happen!

I had clarity.  I knew it was all a God-sized task.  And I trusted that God was going to take care of things.

And even though I kept expecting God to answer one way, He very clearly answered another way…over and over and over again.

His answers shocked me at times, BUT He didn’t leave me.  He was there all the time.  And I knew, I knew, I could trust Him.  I knew that He was the only source of hope I had…even as I watched my marriage end.

I think that Canaanite momma got it.  She got that Jesus was the answer…the only hope she had.

After Jesus speaks to her, she answers, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”

Wow!  She is solid.  She definitely gets it!

She gets that even a crumb from the Lord’s table is enough.

It reminds me of the woman who knew if she only grabbed hold of a tassel on Jesus’ robe she’d be healed. (Matthew 9:18-26)  And the Centurion who knew Jesus only had to speak and his servant would be healed. (Matthew 8:5-13)

Just a touch…just a word…just crumb…just Jesus!

They each knew His power to be great and trusted that even the smallest bit of it would provide what they needed.

So I’m thinking about how I relate to my Lord.  And I’m disappointed in myself.

I keep living under the table when I’ve been invited to the feast.

I don’t have to settle for a crumb – I have it all.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places… Ephesians 1:3

…having the eyes of your hearts enlightened that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. Ephesians 1:18-21

The same power that raised Jesus from the dead and seated Him at the right hand of God…the same power that created everything…the same power that God uses to fulfill his good and perfect will…is the same power that is at work in my life…in me!

That blows my mind.

Which begs the question why I don’t act like I have the power of God working in my life?  Why do I feel so defeated at times?

This weekend I had such a feeling of imminent failure.

It’s not unusual for me.  There are moments when it seems that everything is going to be ruined that isn’t already ruined.

How is that living for God’s glory?  How is that living with the joy of the Lord?

It’s not.

At all.

God says I can confidently approach His throne of grace knowing He can and will handle my problems.  I know that I can and I know that He wants me to, and yet I choose the struggle instead of His strength.

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace,
that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

Unlike the Canaanite woman I don’t have to think I must settle for crumbs…I get to partake of the full feast!

The full feast of God’s love, mercy, peace, strength, and grace.

No crumbs of grace for this girl!  Even though a crumb is enough when it comes to Jesus…

He offers me so much more!

So let’s sit at the table and enjoy the bounty of God!

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith – that you, being rooted and grounded in love may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14-19

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Stating the Obvious (…well, maybe complaining a bit)

Shhhh…please don’t tell anyone, but I’m sitting on my bed at 11:38pm eating double stuffed Oreo cookies while I try to figure out what went wrong today.  I think I’ve figured it out and I’m not even through the first cookie.  EVERYTHING went wrong today.

I think my mascara left my eyes around 3 pm.  My eyes still feel that awful gritty been crying too much feeling.  I’m weary.

I had to run a quick errand after dinner – quick actually is not the best word considering I took all my children – so I will rephrase -I had to make a run to the store which was a bit more like one of those muddy marathon thingies complete with mudslinging, some yelling and exhaustion at the end.

At the store, my youngest had to use the potty – while standing in the bathroom waiting I stepped in front of the mirror and glanced at myself.  Oh my.  I went in public looking like that?!?! How badly did I need to run this errand???

Today I felt sorrow and maybe a little hopeless.  Seriously how can I possibly even be feeling hopelessness when I have Jesus?  He loves me.  I can trust Him. I have hope for the future.  But, what about hope for today…for this very minute?  What about hope that my children really are going to be okay?  Because I will tell you today…I’m anxious for my children.  I don’t think that I’m doing this single parenting thing as well as I’d like to…really, well at all.  I’m weary of single parenting.

I have a teenager dating. I’d elaborate but I’m assuming most can deduce my angst!

I have a middle-schooler who is just pushing boundaries and pushing buttons…on purpose.  This child pushes my buttons like someone waiting for a slow elevator…push, push, push…pause…push again.  Half the time I can respond with gentleness and not even be bothered by it. But the other half?  Not so much.  I feel like I could just bang my head against the wall, repeatedly.  I don’t know how to reach his heart.  I’m weary of the battle.

I have a child that has taken to wailing…not crying, not whining…wailing!  Ahhhhh….Wahhhh…it would be funny if it wasn’t so annoying.  This sweet child is also struggling with some very serious learning issues which I know are frustrating and discouraging.  I can’t figure out how to effectively help.  I’m weary of searching for answers

I have a preschooler who is openly defiant and can be quite mean.  This cutie seems impervious to discipline and actually, at times, seems to like being in trouble.  Very disconcerting.  Actually terrifying is a better word.  I don’t know how to get to this child’s heart.  I’m weary of fear.

My oldest is at college.  I had visions of weekly care packages, funny encouraging cards sent often, and skyping occasionally.  Thank goodness for texting or he would think I forgot about him.  Poor guy.  I’m weary of failure.

On top of all these parenting issues…I’m still drowning in house stuff, financial stuff, relationship stuff, friendship stuff, church stuff, health stuff, and “I-Don’t-Have-Time-To-Do-All-My Stuff” stuff.

I’m whining.  I’m sorry.  I’m trying to find humor in my situation, maybe this isn’t the right time of day for that endeavor.  I’m also acutely aware that I should not be grumbling or complaining.  I want to do everything without grumbling and complaining…I really do.  But, today…I’m done.  I don’t even want to complain or grumble.  I just want to state the obvious and move on.  But move on where??

I want to figure out what my proper response should be to all these things God has allowed in my life?  What does God want me to do with all the conflict?   What keeps running through my head is, “Be still.”  What does that look like?

I don’t know how to be still…there is just so much to do.  How do you really truly rest when you are a single parent?  How do you trust that anything is going to go well when everything has gone kablooey and keeps going kablooey?  How do you deal with the sheer magnitude of mental stuff to deal with in a day?

I don’t know.

I was hoping you did.

Give me a minute and I’ll think…

OK I’ve decided I can’t just be all defeated and such so here is plan A (which hopefully will work because at the moment it’s all I’ve got) –

I’m gonna pray.  I’m gonna get on my knees and I’m gonna pray.  I’m gonna pray that God will calm my anxious thoughts.   I’m gonna pray that God will give me wisdom.  I’m gonna pray that God will give me rest.  I’m gonna pour out my heart before him.  I’m gonna ask that God restore the joy of my salvation. I’m gonna thank Him and offer a sacrifice of praise and I’m gonna ask for that peace which passes all understanding to guard my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus.  And I’m gonna trust.  I’m gonna take those fearful, anxious, overwhelmed thoughts and approach the throne of grace with confidence.  I’m gonna lay those blasted things at the feet of my Lord, and I’m gonna leave them there!  And then I’m gonna take my eyes off that stuff and I’m gonna fix my gaze on Christ – the author and perfecter of my faith.  And I’m gonna let Him lead me beside those still waters and I’m gonna let Him restore my soul.  And I’m gonna stop grumbling and complaining…ahem…I mean stating the obvious.  I’m gonna “seek the Lord and his strength” and I’m gonna “seek his presence continually!”  (Psalm 105:4)

The verses I’m praying through:

Philippians 4:6-7 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

James 1:5-8 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.  But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.  For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

Psalm 51:12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Hebrews 13:15  Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 

Psalm 25:1-5 To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.  O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me.  Indeed, none who what for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.  Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths.  Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.

Hebrews 4:16  Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Psalm 62:8 Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.

Psalm 23:1-3 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures.  He leads me beside still waters.  He restores my soul.  He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.