I recall their little faces when I promised playground time once we had finished all of our necessary classroom activities. It was what they looked forward to after a hard day of rigorous brain work. Running. Swings. Monkey bars. The opportunity to be outside, have fun, and just be kids. I knew how much they looked forward to it and it gave me such pleasure to see their excitement as they packed up early and lined up to hit the yard. In fact, I understood their desire to go on the playground so much that I made sure to periodically work it into our schedule so that they could enjoy it.
There’s an interesting detail that I left out of this typical scenario. I often announced playground time as a way to help my kids stay on track. If they knew in advance what I had planned for them, it often motivated them to keep their eyes on the prize while attacking their classwork and other responsibilities in a more focused way. There was always at least one student who continued to ask about going outside. Upon the asking, I would remind him or her of what I had already promised. Sometimes, that reminder would be in a look that said, “Seriously, kid? I already told you.” Sometimes, other classmates would chime in trying to understand why this kid was asking. Sometimes, I would give a playful answer for amusement or to redirect him or her. Sometimes, I would say to myself, “Self, these kids never listen.”
At the outset, this student may come off as annoying or one who possibly wasn’t paying close attention to my initial promise. But, at a much closer glance, one might surmise that, perhaps, this student decided to track with me to ensure that I didn’t forget my promise or renege on my promise in any way. This kid wanted to make sure that he or she did not miss out on any part of the promise, so he or she aligned his or her desire with mine and persisted in making sure that he or she got to live out the reality of that promise. This kid was just making sure that he or she received exactly what I said I would do for him or her.
Wait right there.
In Matthew 15:21-28, Jesus encountered a woman who was not even of the Israelite nation. She approached Him, called Him Lord and Son of David (the Messiah), and simply asked Him to have mercy on her by healing her daughter who was possessed by a demon. At first, He didn’t answer her. Then, his disciples suggested that He send her away because she was pestering them. However, Jesus told them, in so many words, that he was only sent to the lost sheep of Israel. She responded by continuing to ask for help. He came back at her by saying that it wasn’t fair to give her (not of the house of Israel) things which belonged to those of Israel. She responded to this by telling Him that even pet dogs (who don’t belong at their master’s table) benefit from the crumbs that fall from the table.
At first glance, you might think that Jesus was being rude to this woman who had a true need, but if you choose to take a second or third, much closer glance, you may discover something different and super significant.
This approached Jesus in a way that demonstrated that she knew who He was–Lord and the Messiah. She came to Him in a bold way and asked Him to do something for her that she had possibly, previously witnessed or heard about. She believed in who He was and this fueled her position on asking. He engaged her as He did in the presence of His disciples and whoever else was there because He knew that her demonstration of faith would be a powerful example to those who witnessed it. I believe He had already decided to answer her desire to have her daughter healed, but He chose to pull back the curtains to display what raw faith in Him looks like. She stood her ground and continued to ask because she knew who she was talking to. She knew that what she wanted–needed could only come from Him and she intended to receive what only He could give. She chose to track with Jesus until He came through on her behalf. I am sure that someone’s faith was strengthened as a result.
Yep. You better go ahead and shout right here…
Listen, don’t you forget that God already has great plans in mind for you. We can’t even begin to conceptualize how awesome and detailed these plans are! He has blessings stored up for us that we are able to unlock and release with our simple faith in Him. There are some things that we just have to believe Him for. We have to choose to go the distance with Him. We have to want what He has promised badly enough that we are willing to track with Him, stay beside Him, cast aside what everybody else is saying, and be willing to continue to ask. He wants to engage us, not be our personal Santa Claus or genie, granting wishes apart from a relationship. He wants our faith in Him to draw others to Him.
And since you are in relationship with Him, you can talk to Him. You can tell Him exactly how you feel and what you are thinking. You can have that open dialogue about your life and purpose and opportunities and decisions. You don’t have to feel as if shouldering all of life is completely up to you.
It’s time for something new. Demonstrate your faith today by engaging your Heavenly Father in real, honest, frank, open conversation. Don’t be afraid to ask and keep on asking! Get all that He has in store for you! Go there with God. And when you go there, His Holy Spirit will guide you, team up with you, release you from the burden of working it all out for yourself, renew your mind, and restore your soul.
Put your name in this verse. May you experience God like never before!
“Jesus gave in. ‘Oh, woman, your faith is SOMETHING ELSE. What you want is what you get?’ Right then her daughter became well.” (MSG)
Peace, love, and only God’s best!
You can call me Jenn. Let's sit on the front porch, grab a tall glass of sweet tea, and chat about life. I communicate through writing and I so enjoy the conversations that squeeze out of my thoughts and words. I especially look forward to hearing your responses to my thoughts and words that spark other conversations, peak interest, and inspire change.