Feeling Crumby?


Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 123; 146, Nehemiah 9:26-38, Revelation 18:9-20, Matthew 15:21-28

Have you ever felt like God just wasn’t paying any attention to you? Not a malicious or deliberate snub; more a disinterested neglect. A whole lot of people around you seem to be having mountaintop moments, a clear line of sight to their calling, or an unwavering awareness of the divine presence … while your heart harbors unanswered questions, serious doubts, and perhaps a little resentment. Maybe you’ve previously experienced the joy everyone else seems to be finding in the Lord, but over time that joy of that relationship has faded into a bit of a “meh.” If God is saying anything, it seems to be “maybe we should see other people.”

A Canaanite woman from the region of Tyre and Sidon might have felt that way when Jesus ignored her and her request to heal her daughter, who was tormented by a demon. He told his disciples he “was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” When she knelt before him and asked “Lord, help me” he told her “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” When she reminded him even the dogs get the crumbs that fall from the table, he rewarded her great faith by healing her daughter.

Our story can be similar. We shout. We beg. We fall on our knees before the Lord. And we are rewarded with silence. Except our silence is drawn out over days, months, or years instead of the time it takes to walk down the road. Or maybe the road we’re on is longer.

It doesn’t seem like Jesus was simply holding out as a test of the Canaanite woman’s faith, but that her stubborn faith in the face of what seemed like rejection brought her to the place where she needed to be. That distinction may make little difference to how we feel in the moment, but it is an important one which may help us endure that “long dark night.”

When it seems like other people have more blessings thrown at them than they can catch, it’s not that their faith is greater than ours. We each have our own path to travel, and sometimes it’s through territory that other people may not even recognize as faith. And let’s remember that dogs and crumbs analogy is blessedly flawed: there’s only so much food to go on (and fall off) the table, but there’s enough grace for everyone to fill up on it.

Comfort: God hears you…

Challenge: … but you may still be figuring out what to say.

Prayer: To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens! (Psalm 123:1)

Discussion: What’s the longest you’ve waited for something?

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