A worse scenario she had not experienced… had rarely (never?) known another woman to face. Her child’s body was taken over by demons.
In desperation her heart continued to break anew as no doctor, no priest of any religion could release the ravaged soul from the violence.
Destitute of any source of help, shadows of hopelessness hovered across her future, long and bleak.
Persistent grief and anxiety weighed her down—burdened by the hardships of poverty, augmented by managing her daughter’s condition. Exhausting in body, mind and spirit.
Snubbed by society, her family was no longer welcome to associate with friends and neighbors.
Had she given up ever living again in the realm of normality?
Could she remember the last time her daughter’s adoring eyes gazed on her face?
How she longed for common pleasures she once assumed would always be theirs.
News spread among the townspeople, along the coast, all the way from Galilee of Israel.
Many crippled and diseased were being healed! A miracle! they said.
And now the Nazarene teacher had left the region to come north—to visit her city!
She had no money to give him, but she was desperate. Surely he would understand the need, would extend compassion.
After making arrangements for her daughter’s care, she left her house, determined to find Him. Resolved to beg Him, if necessary.
She had only to look and listen for the crowd.
It didn’t take long to locate the house where He lodged. Villagers packed around the doorway and peered through windows.
But then the mass of humanity moved as He came out to head south again.
No, He cannot leave yet!
She hurried. Then inhaled deeply and shouted, Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David!
Surely He heard, but He gave no indication. Some on the fringe glanced her way, but pressed toward Him even more.
She wasn’t about to give up. Again, she filled her lungs and yelled, Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is sorely vexed by demons!
Jesus looked her way, but remained silent, and continued walking.
Go away! the men with Him told her. Away! He will not help you. They turned their backs and hurried on.
Tears threatened. Yet, she held onto hope.
Gentile dog. She had heard the term before. Now the prejudice of these men was felt in their tone, viewed in black eyes.
But she ignored it. She had also dealt with belligerence before, and it had not deterred her. Would not deter her.
Pushing through the crowd, she closed in, her steps matching His. Almost within arm’s reach. She noticed the waves in His dark hair, the plain robe.
She glanced down at her own tattered clothing… at her arms, her hands, with dirt trapped beneath fingernails and stains creasing her worn palms—evidence of daily toil. Perhaps she should have taken the time to wash herself first. But, too late now.
She had to make another attempt. My Lord, I beg you, please!
Glares shot her way as others too wanted His attention. But she ignored them.
She heard His followers tell Him to send her away.
Instead He stopped and turned.
Those thronging Him also stopped. Whispers and murmurs questioned His intent.
Yes, she knew He was out of His territory. But there He stood, on the same ground she walked—on her ground.
She fell to her knees.
Lord, help me! My daughter—the demon—please!
His voice. Quiet, firm, kind…
It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.
Inwardly she reveled! This second time He spoke. The One supposed to be the Messiah spoke—conversed even, with her—a non-Jew.
Faith grabbed at the tiniest glint of hope. Yes, she acknowledged. I may be a dog, not entitled to full privileges of the master’s house. But even the children’s pets benefit from unwanted, leftover bits. I seek no harm or lack for those entitled. And I am used to small portions. I only plead this one thing… because You are here… because I have heard of Your generosity to those who ask…
In a time of desperate need, her faith took over with a humble request, in genuine worship and patient waiting, in expecting to receive.
To be continued…