When a mother approaches Jesus in sheer anguish, begging Him to heal her demon possessed child, Jesus doesn’t utter a word.
Someone more timid could have read His lack of a response as a rejection. Admitting defeat, she might have turned around and left. But not this mother. She views Jesus’ silence as Him listening. She also sees it as an open door to walk through. Not only does she walk through that door, but she gets close to Jesus, drops to her knees, and pleads for His help.
What happens next is a conversation between the woman and Jesus – a back and forth that challenges the woman to further advocate for what she needs, and further clarify for herself how Jesus is the only answer. The entire process galvanizes her faith, cementing it so solid, Jesus grants her request because of her faith.
I do not hide Your righteousness in my heart; I speak of Your faithfulness and Your saving help. I do no conceal Your love and Your faithfulness from the great assembly. Psalm 40:10
I used to think that proclaiming the Good News meant standing on a soap box, on a corner, shouting out about God’s love and faithfulness. That really isn’t who I am, nor is it in my skillset to proclaim, off the cuff, about God’s magnificence.
I used my shortcoming as the excuse for why it wasn’t up to me to speak publicly about God’s goodness. Instead, as a doer, I joined the missions. That’s when everything changed.
“I relieved your shoulder of the burden; your hands were freed from the basket. In distress you called, and I rescued you…” Psalm 81:6-7
For years now, I’ve been in the taxi-driving stage of motherhood. That means I’m in the car upwards of two hours a day, shuttling kids to work, boxing, robotics, gymnastics, you name it. Although I’ve enjoyed the bonding time when my kids choose to open up while in the car, there are days when it feels like a waste of time.
“Then he said to his servants, ‘The feast is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy to come.'” Matthew 22:8
I’ve been to several weddings where I’ve missed the mark on how to dress. Based on the bride and groom, and what I perceived their vision for the day to be, I either overdressed or underdressed for the occasion. The level and duration of my discomfort depended on my self-confidence that day, and just how much my mistake stood out. I always took consolation in the fact that at least I tried, and that all eyes were focused on the couple of the day, not on me and my wardrobe faux paus.
(Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.) Numbers 12:3
Of course, we all know who Moses is and just how righteous he was. But what if someone were new to her faith and opened the Bible to Numbers 12? If she just read the first two lines, she might be swayed by what Miriam and Aaron say about him. They complain about Moses in such a way that might make her think he’s a glory-seeker.
It would take reading that third line, in parentheses, to clarify for her that Moses is very humble. In fact, he’s the humblest man on earth.
But if she were in a rush, and couldn’t read on, it would be an injustice to Moses and to herself.
Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God. Psalm 84:3
I set up a new prayer space this summer on my back deck. Every day I sit there with my Bible and journal trying to spend time with God. But like the child who gets distracted by a butterfly, all my efforts get derailed by the pair of hummingbirds that visit my feeder.
It’s mesmerizing to watch them, with their wings batting 53 beats per second. They dip in to feed and then fly up to be sure I’m staying put, over and over and over again.
I guess I’ve earned their trust over the past month. They actually perch on the feeder now, just a few feet away from me. The best is when they play together, swirling and twirling mid-air as if dancing for me.
Sometimes twenty minutes can go by without me reading even a single word in my Bible. I get lost in wonder, overwhelmed by gratitude for the magic that unfolds before me every day. Then I’ll snap to, reprimand myself for being so distracted, and try to refocus on God and prayer again.
Yesterday, the distraction literally doubled and had me seeing things in a whole new light.
“Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants…” Matthew 13:32
When my kids were little, it was hard to feel any sense of accomplishment; growing our children is a process that takes time for the results to be seen. I couldn’t wait for them to get older so I could revel in the fruits of my labor.
Now that they’re teens and a tween, instead of seeing the fruition of all my hard work, I’m seeing eye-rolling and push-back as they try to separate from me and become their own people. Some days it can be so extreme I don’t want to be a mother anymore.
That’s why, on Monday, while reading about the mustard seed in Matthew 13, I decided I’m going to be a farmer instead.
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him. Psalm 37:7
We had to take our bunny, Oreo, to the vet a few weeks ago to get his claws clipped. Since we go so infrequently, we don’t have one of those fancy carriers. Instead, I line a Rubbermaid bin with an old towel and put a metal grid on top.
Oreo’s always freaked out about being in that bin. So, I went against my better judgment, and let Jocelyn hold the bin on her lap. She wanted to comfort him and asked if she could pick him up. I repeatedly explained it was too risky in the car. I thought she understood.
When I heard her exclaim, I turned to find that not only was Oreo out of the bin, but he was crawling over Jocelyn’s shoulder and around her neck. She couldn’t control him, and I had nowhere safe on the road to pull over and help.
Needless to say, it was a dicey few minutes as I directed Jocelyn on how to keep Oreo from jumping around in the car. If he did so, he could have fallen awkwardly and broken his back. When that happens, you have no choice but to put a bunny down.
After getting him safely into the bin, I explained to Jocelyn that she had put her own need to comfort before Oreo’s safety. Of course, both were important, but if we couldn’t keep him safe, we’d risk losing him. As she cried in remorse and relief, I hoped she got the message.