Matthew 15:21-31 (The Message)
I took me a while to find Him. I came over hills, with my bare feet raw and blistering. The heat was unbearable, beating a sistah down. Heavy as a mother's heart.
I just need Him to help my kids. It has to be Him. There is no one else.
I see Him, and there is that hope and expectation rising in the midnight that is my life, full-bodied and immense, like a pregnant moon. He will give me what I need. I know it. I don't know how I know, but I trust Him. The Deliverer. The God-man. Before I am all the down the Hill I'm calling Him.
"Mercy, Master, Son of David!" I go on and on about my kids. I just need a mercy. The simplicity of Him seeing me.
I am taken aback.
He is not listening. He is ignoring me.
I don't understand. I have heard the reports of what He has done. He is Reckless Compassion. Why has He turned His face from me? His reaction fuels my desperation.
"Mercy, Master." I scream it until my throat hurts, until I am restrained, and He does nothing to stop the rough hands snatching me away from HIm.
I beg His men to help. "Don't you see? Don't you understand I need Him? Only Him?" I am cloaked in shame, but I can't help myself. Words tumble out of me and I realize I am babbling. I am no longer woman. I am panic. "It's my kids. I need help. I can't..." I look at the twelve. They have traveled, and they are tired and foul. There is no mercy to be found in them, and their cloying complaint rushes past me like an odor in the wind.
"Now she's bothering us," they say. "Will you please take care of her? She's driving us crazy."
Jesus refused. Oh, Dear God. He refused.
What do you do when Jesus refuses you? When he throws up His hands that look empty to you, but tells His followers, "I've got my hands full dealing with the lost sheep of Israel."
I don't belong. I am not His choice. I know it, and so does He. He doesn't have time for me.
It is only reasonable that I fall hard to my knees.
And then the words that kill me. Jesus calls me out:
"It's not right to take bread out of the children's mouth and throw it to dogs."
The words are a spinning vortex, stripping my insides. Heart, brain matter, blood and guts chip away, making a soup of my interior. I am terrified. Reduced to nothing. Did Jesus just call me a bitch? Every hurtful thing ever said to me becomes a part of this destruction . I am blasted in two, and I can't distinguish what is memory, and what Jesus is saying. My split mouth utters, "Mercy." But no one hears.
What was I thinking? Did I really believe I could approach the God-man? What arrogance in me. I am like the ones I've heard He called stiff necked. I haven't even considered my own sinfulness. I have no right to the Tree of Life. I am filthy next to Him. I am the things that are said about me.
But I still need Him.
I was quick. "Then make me your pet. Feed me from Your own hands."
I take his hand, boldly. I am unworthy, but my need is bigger than my pride. I want Jesus to own me. I remember the thieves and whores and accountants he has loved. Love this dog. This other from You. I kiss His hand. His words are true. I don't even bother to cry.
And some amazing thing takes place.
I feel the gentle touch of His surrender. He gives in to me. He lifts my face. He looks at me, as if I am His pleasure.
"Black woman, your faith is something else." That's what He said to me.
I laugh. I hear in Him the voice of my great-grandmother. My faith is somethin' else. He receives me. "What you want is what you get!" His voice is Power and Light and Assurance. I feel Him knitting me back together. My bones and organs are solid again. I am whole because He sees. His hand is still in mine. My children are well. I know this like I know that He has taken me. He owns me now. He is my master.
I kiss His hand again and scramble to my feet, until I am running, flying over hills, my feet strong and sure. Empowered by His Love.
Behind me, in valley I left behind, is the clamour of the healed. There is the sound of joy, unashamed. The mute are speaking, the paraplegics are walking around, and the blind, are memorizing the lines of His face.
What will you do with what Jesus calls you?