Strength For Today

A journey of keeping my heart, mind, and body in TODAY

Yes, Lord!

on January 24, 2014

Tonight, I was honored to be a part of an audience that received an anointed healing message from Pastor Roy Patterson, station manager at Moody Radio (90.1 FM).

What a blessing he was, and oh how beautiful the message he carried!  And timely.  Exactly what I needed to hear on exactly this night.  What an amazing God we serve!  He puts us exactly where we need to be, exactly when we need to be there!

He preached a message on Matthew 15:21-28.  The Faith of the Canaanite Woman.  Interesting choice, considering he was preaching to a room full of people who have walked through most of their lives feeling unworthy.  (We were at an anniversary celebration for a local Celebrate Recovery Ministry.)  Anyway, as he read the words from scripture, my mind started immediately wandering to the places I used to be where I felt as unworthy as this woman must have felt.  And I wondered “Why?  Why would Jesus give her the “silent treatment”?  Why would the disciples urge him to send her away as she pleaded for Jesus to heal her daughter?  Why would Jesus tell her that he was sent only to the “lost sheep of Isreal”?  Why would he refer to her as a dog and say that it wasn’t right to take “children’s bread and toss it to their dogs”?  He definitely had my attention.  I had no idea where he was headed, so I sat up and listened.  The message that he delivered was captivating, and right on the mark for me.

The words that came next, hit me right in the heart:  “Too desperate to be denied”.

When trials come, I must decide to press on, to persevere!  He explained how the Canaanite woman was a model of this absolute Truth.  He used 3 teaching points, which I would like to reflect on here:

1.  Persevere Through Silence: What do I do when God is silent?  Sometimes I reach out for God and He doesn’t respond in the time or the way that I expect.  Sometimes, He is silent.  Is He silent because He doesn’t care?  Is it because He is rejecting me?  The answer to both of those questions is an ABSOLUTE “NO”!  Sometimes God is silent because He will test our Faith from time to time.  He wants to see if we are ready to “press on”, if we will choose to persevere.  The Canaanite woman did.

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 a word.  So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us”  Matthew 15: 22-23

2.  The second teaching point came from verse 23. Persevere Through the Saints.  As this woman was crying out in desperation to Jesus, He did not respond to her.  As verse 23 points out, she continued crying out after them.  She did not accept Jesus’ silence as a rejection.  She persevered right through it.  Then came the second obstacle:  The “saints”, or disciples.  They urged Jesus to send her away.  They placed “judgement” on her, and saw her as unworthy of Jesus.  They responded in a way that was unloving.  We all face people in our lives that think they are better than we are.  We also face people in our life that we think we are better than.  The Truth?  God loves us all equally.  Our status, race, position, or personality don’t affect the way God looks at us, or the way He sees us. He loves each one of His children, unconditionally.  We are commanded to love one another as He has loved us. Sometimes it just doesn’t happen, and we must persevere through people who treat us as though we were “less than”.

3. Persevere Through Stigma.  The Canaanite woman was referred to as a dog by Christ Himself!  Can you believe that?  I had a hard time with His response at first.  She was given a “label” because of where she lived.  She was considered to be unworthy simply because she was not a Jew.  She was born a Gentile, and by her birthplace, had no “right” to approach Jesus in the manner in which she did.  Jesus’ silence didn’t stop her.  The disciples shunning her didn’t stop her.  Now, even the stigma of being a Gentile (referred to as dogs by the Jews because they were unworthy) was not going to stop her.  She didn’t let the label of unworthiness actually deem her unworthy.  She didn’t let anyone’s opinion stop her from pursuing the Lord in her time of need.  She didn’t even let Christ’s silence waver her desperation.

The woman came and knelt 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 masters’ table”.  Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith!  Your request is granted.”  And her daughter was healed from that very hour.     Matthew 15:25-28

The woman’s reply of “Yes, Lord” indicates that she acknowledged her unworthiness.  She didn’t argue with Him.  She didn’t try to persuade Him that she was worthy of His love and healing just as much as anyone else.  She didn’t deny who she was, she didn’t try blame or deflect the problem on anyone else, she didn’t respond in anger or hostility.  She simply said two amazingly powerful words.  “Yes, Lord”.  And then she stated a fact.  Even dogs get crumbs from their masters’ table.  Crumbs from heaven.  The best kind.

The result of the Canaanite woman’s perseverance?  Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith!  Your request is granted.”  And her daughter was healed from that very hour.  She was granted her request!  Her faith had persuaded Jesus to heal her daughter.  It wasn’t her status, her race, her words, or anything about her, other than her decision to persevere through trials and lean into her faith in Jesus.  She knew Him to be a healer, and she wasn’t going to stop crying out to Him in desperation until He responded.  And, boy, He responded!!

*The above reflection is not my own preaching or teaching, but rather a processing of Pastor Roy Patterson’s teaching tonight.  Below are my reflections from the teaching*

As I sit here reflecting on this message, I am just in awe at the Beautiful God we serve!  He takes us in our brokenness, in our yuck, in our sin and in our pain….and He loves us right where we are at.  This teaching was so encouraging to me!

How refreshing it was to hear that God’s silence doesn’t mean that He is rejecting me or that I am doing something wrong, but rather that He is growing me! I definitely go through seasons where I feel Him in a  tangible way, and other seasons where it seems I can’t “feel” Him at all.

The message about persevering through the “saints” is also one I needed to hear.  There are always people trying to thwart my joy, people who just don’t support me in my journey – who just don’t understand it, or just don’t agree with it.  There are people who talk about me in a negative light.  None of that matters.  I can persevere through that.

Finally,  the teaching point that hit home the hardest with me tonight, is the acceptance of who I used to be.  It is amazing how when I decided to own my past instead of continuously run and hide from it, it lost its power over me.  I am able to speak about every broken piece of my life because He has redeemed me fully from all of it.  I know who I was, yes.  But I also know who I AM.  I can stand tall in my brokenness because I am being made perfect by the only One who is perfect now!  That is a thought that I will never get tired of meditating on!  He is teaching me how to walk in the Redemption I have already been given by the blood of my Savior, day by day, one beautiful step at a time!

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