By Carol Younger
“You know I’ll always take care of you, Mom,” my adult son said. I remember the moment clearly. His words stopped my thoughts; I turned to see his smiling face. He meant it; it wasn’t just conversation. How loved and cared for I felt! I wondered what I’d just said to prompt his response. Obviously, my smiling son heard a worry offhandedly stated, and he wanted me to know clearly that as long as he was around, no worries like that should bother me. I relaxed in that moment of wonder at his offered grace.
A decade or so later, today, the Lord spoke to me during a prayerful moment. He interrupted my asking for grace in my day, and he spoke my name, then said, “I have always taken care of you.” The mention of my name caught my full attention. As I recalled just a few of the wild crises of past decades, the love and tenderness of the care that he lavished on me stunned me. Of course I had prayed in each crisis, but Jesus had brought more miracle than just answer to each concern. His words also reminded me instantly of the words of my own son. Jesus’ words carried the same message. “Someone besides yourself will bring My strength to take care of you….”
Stop worrying, stop trying to figure it out. Stop relying on your power, on your “being enough” (as Colleen puts it in this chapter). God’s providence will come to you through someone other than yourself. That’s the story of every rescue story, love story, redemption story. It’s the Salvation Story. Someone other than you comes to save you.
The Syrophoenician woman understands this clearly. She has battled this demon for a long time, getting nowhere. Now, she hears stories about Jesus – who could not hear them? Every house had news of healings in Gennesaret, walking on water, answers given to Pharisees, accusing them even as they presented themselves as sinless before the law.
Yet, she knew she was Greek, not Jew. It didn’t matter. She needs someone powerful outside herself. And so she goes, enters a house not her own, finds him, and falls at his feet. They might drag her out, but not before she has begged that favor for someone outside herself. She needs his saving strength and power, a miracle for a loved daughter.
Jesus must have waved off the people there who wanted to cart her out immediately. After all, he had come to find rest, quiet. He starts a conversation with her, calling her popular slang for Gentiles, a dog. Reminding her that salvation doesn’t come from her people, it might not even be available to her people, he says. Her desire for the miraculous help for her daughter accepts whatever he says. But she will not be deterred. In effect, she says,“let me take the scraps you have left from the children to bring to my child at home.” It doesn’t matter to her that she is an outsider to him. What matters is his power and mercy for her daughter. She wants that power to save her daughter. And Jesus grants it.
Imagine hearing Jesus say,“That’s just what I wanted you to say, just what others need to hear and remember. Go home. Your daughter is healed.” Jesus wants you to hear it today: those around you will ask me and bring my grace and power into your crises, daily life, into your desire for eternal life.
When, recently, have you prayed as the Syrophoenician woman prayed: Lord, take this sin out, bring healing to this person? Did you pray for a family member, a friend, for a whole nation? What miracle do you need so desperately for someone else that you will fall at his feet and beg?
About the Author:
Dr. Carol Younger – A Senior Fellow for the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, Advisory Board Member for the Great Adventure Bible Studies, author of Listening and Study Guides for biblical and theological presentations through St. Joseph Communications, author of the Retreat Companion for 33 Days to Morning Glory through Marian Press. An accomplished leader in public and private education and a popular adjunct professor at an evangelical Christian university in Southern California. Active in many parish ministries, including RCIA and Catechetical training.