A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.
Jesus did not answer her a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him,”Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”
He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
The woman came and knelt down before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.
He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.”
“Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”
Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour. (Matthew 15:22-28.)
As I’ve prayed for a desperate friend whose 13 year old daughter has been lost (for the time being) to mental illness, this scripture came to my mind. I can picture my friend crying out for Jesus to have mercy on her–on her daughter. And I have hope.
The Greek word translated into our English as have mercy on is the word eleeo. This Greek word means: to relieve affliction, suffering, distress, stressful circumstances, and torment.
The definition is very fitting of my friend’s need. It is very fitting of the needs of many.
So my prayer has been for Jesus to eleeo! “Oh Lord, please eleeo these dear women! They are desperate!”
I feel there is power in the ancient text. Living power in those words. And I pray.
But there is power in our actions too.
As the Canaanite woman came before Jesus the scripture says she knelt before him. But her kneeling was much more than a begging posture. She proskyneo. This word means, “worhip by kneeling and kissing the feet, showing adoration.” She recognized Jesus as divinity. As one worthy to be worshiped.
How many of Jesus’ own lost sheep would not bow down to him? But this woman recognized who He was. Her posture and petition, her entire desperate being, bowed to the One who could make all things new.
It seems life would be easier if we lived in Jesus-present world. A tangible, touchable, hands-on Jesus. Every one would be healed. All suffering would cease.
But though I cannot see Him, I will not give up. I will continue to proskyneo every morning as I cry eleeo for us. He is the healer. He is the Savior.
He is here.