Quote for October

A Prayer for the Ephesians Eph. 3:14-21

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom His whole family in heaven derives its name. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Crumbs that Fall from God's Table

The Faith of the Canaanite Woman/ Matthew 15:21-28

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 suffering terribly from demon-possession."

Jesus did not utter 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 their dogs."

"Yes, Lord," she said, "but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master's table."

Then Jesus answered, "Woman,you have great faith! Your request is granted." And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

As you can imagine, the crumbs that fall from God's table must be tremendous. I am writing this to remind myself that I may not get all I want from God, but what I get is pretty amazing. I just had a breast biopsy today. I asked some friends for prayer, and I went through the biopsy with a feeling of great peace: lying there feeling like nothing was going to bother me. I actually felt quite cozy; I think that is the best word. The biopsy was done because a lump showed up in my mammogram. I have no symptoms. The surgeon cannot feel any mass, and the mass does not show up in an ultrasound, increasing the chance that it is benign.

In the past I have asked God for healing of complete conditions and I have asked for relief from symptoms. I have Sjogren's Syndrome, and I've had it at least 25 years. It's an autoimmune condition that begins with dryness in the eyes and mouth because the glands are being attacked. I began with dryness in my eyes that gradually led to a lump (pinguicula) on my left eye. My eye would water in bright light, and if I walked outside without sunglasses, I would grab my eye because of the strong pain that shot through my eye. Finally, the growth spread to my cornea (a pterygium), and my eye surgeon said we had to remove it.

Several weeks before the surgery, during a Bible study, I asked for healing in my left eye. The pain and watering were so bad, I had to pull off the road on the way home from work because I could not see the road. My friends prayed, and I was healed! I remember my friend saying, "She's healed," as the Lord spoke to her. After that day, my eye was moist and the pain and watering stopped. I considered cancelling the surgery, but the lump on my eye was a callus caused by the dryness that had been in my eye. It had not disappeared, and it interfered with the proper closing of my eyelid. That made my eye even drier, and my eye would not be perfect with the lump there.

My eye doctor is also an eye surgeon. I remember that he became more cautious as the surgery date approached. Sometimes a pterygium will come back after being removed, and the doctor told me that it can come back in just a few months. I wasn't worried because I knew my eye was healed. After the surgery, for the first six months, every time the surgeon checked my eye, he said, "We couldn't have asked for a better result." I knew that. God healed my eye.

There are more examples of how God relieved some more symptoms of Sjogren's Syndrome so that I could continue teaching. I do not know why He does not heal me, but He allowed me to keep teaching.

Five or six years ago, my mouth was getting drier and my throat would hurt every day. I was hoarse, also. I did get a wireless microphone to use in my classroom after going to a special therapist. She was not a speech therapist, but a voice therapist, I guess. My rheumatologist referred me to her. She found that I could talk 2.5 times as long when I spoke quietly, compared to using the normal volume of my voice to talk across a room. So using the microphone relieved the pain and it helped me to be able to speak to my students in a pleasant tone of voice and still be heard in the back of the room.

At this time I was drinking 4 bottles of water per day in my classroom to keep my mouth from being too dry. If my mouth was dry, my throat would get irritated, and I would cough repeatedly. That would end the lesson. Also, my feet burned from the neuropathy that Sjogren's causes.

I was being prayed for often during this time. I had a friend Gerri who would pray that I would be healed from the top of my head to the tips of my toes. One night I asked God for relief from the symptoms of Sjogren's Syndrome. This was a few years after the surgery on my eye, and my eyes were better, but it was difficult to teach. We were asking God to heal me completely, but if that was not His plan, I would be happy to simply feel better.

Since the night I prayed, the burning in my feet is much less. I don't notice most days. I do tend to wear sandals to keep my feet cooler, but the burning is inside my feet. The Lord reduced my thirst. I went down to drinking 3 bottles of water per day and my throat hurt less. God gave me the ability to keep teaching until my school district offered an early retirement incentive, and I could retire.

I was fortunate to be able to read from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Bible at my father's house on August 13th. I found the comments on the passage of scripture about the Canaanite woman to be fascinating. I had wondered why Christ said things to her that seemed so off-putting. In other instances Christ had asked supplicants, "What do you want of Me?" Why did He make Himself so unavailable to this particular woman?

Of course, she was not Jewish, but neither was the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus spoke to the Samaritan first. What was so different about the Canaanite lady? The difference was that man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart. Christ could see her heart.

Jesus Christ could see that she was a woman of great faith. He knew that if he presented obstacles to her, that her faith would grow. Each time he ignored her or verbally pushed her away, she came closer. She was not offended that He compared her people to dogs. She became even more humble, instead of arguing or being offended. When Christ said the food for the children shouldn't be given to their dogs, this lady was willing to eat the crumbs.

At that point Jesus answered her petition. He commended her faith, and healed her daughter.

As I read the pages in Matthew Henry regarding this passage in Matthew, I gained increasing clarity about my situation. I have known since 2007 that God was drawing me closer to Him. Now I know He also recognized that my faith was strong, and He knew it could grow stronger. He had confidence in me. Thank you Father for Your confidence in me! I love You.


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