one mercy

After glancing around the room one last time, she slipped out hurriedly. Time was short, as she could not leave the girl for very long; now was her only opportunity to go.  She had dreamed of this day for many weeks now.  Her heart was even filled with a tiny drop of joy—something she could barely remember feeling by now.

Hurrying down the street, she could not help but wonder.  Would she make it to the teacher in time?   Surely, he was her only hope now! Every time she heard accounts of his miraculous healings, her heart leapt.  She must find him and beg him to cast the demon from her little girl.

What strange circumstances had led her to this point in life, she mused.  She had been so happy for a time.  But suddenly everything had been taken away and she found herself a widow with a tormented daughter. Tears stung in her eyes, as she hurried along.  What a hopeless life lay ahead of her.

Then she saw him.  This was her hope, her only hope; and yet, her sufficient hope!  She could not hold back.

“Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David!  My daughter is cruelly demon-possessed!”  The words tumbled out in a frantic plea for mercy.

In her anguish she waited.  He would turn around and answer.

But, there was no answer, not a word, not a look of pity, not even a glance of recognition.

“Lord!  Lord!  Have mercy!” she cried out with everything inside her.

This time she heard horrible words.  The teacher’s disciples spoke. “Send her away because she keeps shouting at us.”

And the teacher answered them, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

Never in her dreams had she imagined this response.  He had healed so many others, and finally she was so close.  So close but suddenly so dreadfully far!  This moment she had dreamed of for so many days seemed to be slipping from her.  But her mind was made—how could she return home without his mercy?

Bowing at his feet, she begged with only words she could find. “Lord, help me!”

And he answered.  “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”

He was right.  What right did she, a Canaanite, have to beg mercy from him, an honorable Jew?  “Yes, Lord;” she whispered, “but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from the masters’ table.”  There was nothing more to say.  She could only beg for crumbs. She deserved no mercy.

He looked at her—worn, miserable, and desperate—cast at his feet, begging for mercy.

“O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish.”

*    *     *     *    *     *     *     *

Based on Matthew 15:21-28.


11 thoughts on “one mercy

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  1. That’s a great story! I’ve always liked that little passage, and I love how you spelled out what must’ve been going through the widow’s mind, especially at the end when she realized that she deserved no mercy at all. Great job! :D

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