“Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Matthew 15:22 NIV)
Friend To Friend
Belva held her twitching daughter in her arms. With eyes rolled back and thrashing limbs, the child convulsed on the earthen floor.
“Oh Mara,” the distraught mother cried. “When will this ever end?”
For years little Mara had violently convulsed in predictable synchronized intervals.The child often cried out in loud screeching voices, threw herself against the walls of their one room home, and cut her arms with rocks and broken pottery until blood flowed.
Belva and her daughter lived in Tyre, a Gentile Phoenician city that bordered Galilee along the Mediterranean Sea. She was from Canaanite descent- a people who had been enemies of the Jews since they marched into the Promised Land hundreds of years before. The Jews despised the entire region from Tyre to Sidon, and avoided it at all costs. The land was home to idol worship of the false gods Baal and Ashera that practiced temple prostitution and human sacrifice.
But among the ungodliness that permeated the city, words of Jesus’ miracles and teaching drifted among the streets. Belva drank in the stories like rain on the dry cracked streets upon which she walked. How she longed for a drop of hope to fall on her weary soul. One story caught her attention more than any other.
“Belva, have you heard?” a neighbor began. “Jesus delivered a boy much like your Mara.”
“Tell me,” Belva asked hungrily. “What happened?”
“There was a boy in Galilee who was much like your Mara. He had an evil spirit that seized him and caused him to scream out for no reason at all. The spirit threw him into convulsions and he foamed at the mouth. It was destroying the boy and his father, for that matter.”
“So what happened?” Belva asked, hungry for a morsel of hope.
“Well, Jesus was just returning from a trip with three of his disciples. I believe their names were Peter, James and John. His other disciples had remained back in the village while they were away. This father took his son to them for healing. But nothing happened. He convulsed right before their eyes and they couldn’t do a thing.”
“But then Jesus and his three friends walked into the crowd and this father fell at his feet.”
“Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child,” the father cried. “A spirit seizes him and he suddenly screams; it throws him into convulsions so that he foams at the mouth. It scarcely ever leaves him and is destroying him.”
“That sounds just like my Mara,” Belva cried. “What happened next?”
“Well, the father begged Jesus to drive the demons out. And right then and there, while the father was pleading with The Teacher, the boy approached and the demon threw him to the ground in a convulsion!”
“Oh my” Belva cried with her hand over her mouth.
“Then this Jesus rebuked the evil spirit! ‘Come out of him!’ he cried. And then, just like that, the demon was gone. Jesus picked up the boy and handed him back to his father.”
Tears filled Belva’s eyes as she listened to this miraculous account. If only I could go to Jesus, she thought. But he wouldn’t have anything to do with the likes of me, a woman: a despised Gentile woman with Canaanite heritage, none-the-less. That was the story of a man and his son. Does God even care about a woman and her little girl?
“Some say he is the Messiah – the Son of David. Who knows? Too bad Jesus won’t be coming here,” her friend continued. “He would never step foot in this forsaken place.”
And with a shrug, the talebearer walked away.
“O God,” Belva prayed. “If there is any way you could make an exception for one so lowly as me. I know I am from a cursed race, a despised people, but my daughter is being destroyed. She is only a child. I am not asking for me. I am begging for her. Please send Jesus my way. Please heal my little daughter. You are our only hope.” And with those final words on her lips, Belva cried herself to sleep.
Dear Lord, I’ve felt like Belva so many times. “Is there any way you could make an exception for one as lowly as me?” I cry. “Please send Jesus my way.” I’m waiting. I’m anticipating His arrival. In His Name I pray, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
Today’s devotion is a glimpse into what the life of the Syrophoenician mother’s life could have been like. It is so easy to read about the women in the Bible and not see them as gals just like us … but they were. They loved their children, did their housework, and longed for rest from their troubles.
Have you ever been in what seemed like a hopeless situation?
How did God come through for you?
I’d love to hear about it. Let’s share on
Perhaps you’re still waiting for you miracle. Join us tomorrow for the rest of the story.
More From The Girlfriends
Today’s story was taken from Sharon’s book, What God Really Thinks about Women: Finding Your Significance through the Women Jesus Encountered. Through the miracles and messages of Jesus we see how He came to set women free from an oppressive society and into a new life of purpose. Be prepared to fall in love with Jesus all over again! You can also watch a video about the book by clicking on the link above.