Pieces

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Bread, manna, crumbs

These words have been on my heart and mind for months now, even more so now that I’m in book writing mode. I seem to be getting pieces of the puzzle every day as I make my way further up the path…deeper and deeper into the adventure.

Sometimes I don’t know where the pieces fit yet. For now, I  hold onto them…and I wait.

Some mornings, I will pick the pieces up and turn them over in my hands.

Where does it go, Lord?
What does all this mean?
How does it fit inside the bigger picture?

**********

A Piece:

Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.  A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”

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.”

He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”

 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 the dogs.”

 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment. ~  Matthew 15:21-28

Whenever I read this exchange between Jesus and Gentile woman who cried out for help it resonates deeply with me. At first glance, Jesus response seems unloving and insulting. Yet, Jesus was testing this woman’s faith.

Are you desperate enough and hungry enough that you will courageously seek the healing you need even though shame has been shouting at you all your life that you shouldn’t seek anything better?

Rick Lawrence, `in his book, Skin in the Game, poses a great question and explanation about the exchange. “How would we respond to Him if were in the woman’s sandals? We have two choices. We can agree with the story our shame is telling us about ourselves and scurry back from the precipice of epic possibility. Or we can stand with our eyes flashing and our chin jutted and declare that it will no longer matter how others have defined us, no matter how respected or impressive or powerful they may be.  It. Will. No. Longer. Matter.

Jesus interrogated and pushed this woman.

“Jesus will set off an earthquake in our soul if it will spring loose our prison door.” Rick Lawrence

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In one way, it reminded me of the account of Jesus pressing Peter after he had fearfully denied even knowing Jesus.

Jesus asked him the same question three times in a row.

“Peter,  do you love me?”

It’s as if Jesus is speaking right to the condition of Peter’s heart. Will your failure and shame define you or will I define you?

************

I was a divorced woman.  I was a divorced woman whose ex-husband was serving time in a federal prison. I was a woman who spent years running away from problems. I was a woman who had spent years numbing her pain with bottles of wine. Similar to Peter, when the reality and difficulty of life and the situation I was in became too hard and too uncomfortable to face, I was a woman who ran away from Jesus.

Shame was loud. You don’t deserve my bread. You’ve gone too far in the wrong direction.

 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

But the hunger for healing and freedom was louder. You, Jesus, are my only HOPE. Please, Lord, just a crumb of your goodness, just a crumb of your love, just a crumb of your healing.

 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

I never thought I’d get
Even a second chance
But you’ve given that, and so much more
And then for every time I ever did deny,
You asked me if I love you
You know I do, Lord
Third Day – Can’t Take the Pain

**************

The other night I woke up in the middle of the night with a thought rolling around my brain:

You know, I think that thief on the cross who hung next to Jesus would have been happy with just a few leftover crumbs too.

But Jesus promised him the feast of paradise.

3 thoughts on “Pieces

  1. Bill (cycelguy)

    Ironically Eileen, I am preaching this week on the first two sayings of Jesus…both dealing with forgiveness. The thief is one of my topics for sure. I’m glad you know His forgiveness and also know there is no shame because of what He has done.

    Reply
  2. Pingback: Cycleguy's Spin » Blog Archive Forgiveness | Cycleguy's Spin

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