Trying the Reigns of the Heart

A certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of Him,
and came and fell at His feet.
(Mark 7:25)

She approached Him cautiously, yet her desperation continued to propel her forward. He was surrounded by His disciples and an assortment of other needy strangers. But her request could not wait another moment.
    "Please help me," she pleaded as He turned to look at her. His expression was strangely solemn. "My little daughter is at home, tormented by the devil," she continued as the memory of her child's wails in the night caused her to shiver. "She is possessed. Please heal her, I don't know where else to turn."
    His face did not soften.
    "Woman, it is not fitting to take the children's bread and cast it to the dogs."
    This Gentile woman who was outside the chosen circle of the Hebrew nation, this pagan lady whose background probably included a family history of demon worship through slavery to dead idols, did not wince at the rebuke. Instead, she bowed her head and replied softly, "Yes, Lord, but even the dogs eat of the children's crumbs under the table."
    There was silence and when she looked up at Him again, the Lord was smiling.
   "For this answer, your daughter is healed."
    He watched her as she hurried away and He was still smiling at her answer. His words had been the key that unlocked her heart's response which was one of humility. This pagan one, so looked down upon by the pious Jews, possessed the godly characteristic that God desires to see manifested in His own people.
    Several months before, Jesus sat in a synagogue and practiced the same technique of heart exposure on His own people as He recounted the times when God's favor fell on a lowly Gentile instead of God's own. "There were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah when there was a great famine in the land, but he was sent to only one of them, only to Zarepath, in the land of Sidon, and there were many lepers in the time of Elisha, and none of them was healed except only Naaman the Syrian (Luke 4:25-29)."
    The key turned in their hearts and unlocked a prideful rage in these devout ones which resulted in an attempt to murder the Son of God.
    Every once in a while, God repeats the pattern as He looks upon the hearts of those who call on His name. The key is turned here and there, and our responses are weighed as the test questions, or incidents, expose what is lurking behind our outward masks.
    Oh, children, be willing to eat of the crumbs.

copyright 2004 by H.D. Shively

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