Fired by love's urgent longings, I am his rocketman.

Crumbs

One day Jesus encountered a Canaanite woman who had a daughter that was tormented by a devil.  She started shouting at Him to do something for her.  Jesus did not respond.  His disciples pleaded with Him to give her what she wanted because she kept shouting after them.  Jesus told them that He was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.  But the woman came up to Jesus and knelt down in front of Him and pleaded for help for her daughter.  He said, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the house dogs.”  To which she replied “Ah yes sir, but even the house pets can eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” Then Jesus commended her saying, “Woman you have great faith.  Let your wish be granted.  And from that moment her daughter was well again.”  (Matthew 15:21-28)

Do you ever feel like all you get are the crumbs that fall from the Master’s table?  I do.  I read passages of scripture that talk about signs and wonders and about His immeasurable power at work in us who believe.  I think to myself, I believe, but where is the immeasurable power.  I read about Peter and John walking up to the temple and the healing of the lame man — who went walking and leaping and praising God right into the temple. (Acts 3)  Is it any wonder that people gathered all around to hear what Peter and John had to say?  I can’t help but notice the contrast when I pray for people to be healed and nothing seems to happen.

One of my daughters plays soccer at a college not too far away.  When we dropped her off to begin her freshman season, she introduced me to one of her teammates who happened to have a broken leg.  I asked her if I could pray for her for healing.  She said sure.  I explained to her that I was going to place my hand on her leg where it was broken and then I would pray that Jesus would heal the break.  I let her know that I did not have any power to heal but that I believed that Jesus did.  She confessed her faith in His power to heal her.  Finally, I told her that after I prayed she would know if the Lord healed her — in other words, we wouldn’t have to guess about that.  So I prayed in faith for her healing.  Afterwards, I asked her if she felt anything when I prayed for her.  She said, “no”.  I told her that she was in good company because that’s usually what happens when I pray for healing.

I have to admit that this experience and others like it leave me feeling very unsatisfied.  I think I have faith; sometimes I think I have a lot of faith.  If you ask the people in my office “Does Mark have faith?”  I believe they might say I have as much faith as anyone they know.  Jesus says if you have just a little bit of faith you can say to this mountain be moved and it will be cast into the sea.  (Matthew 17:20; Mark 11:23; Luke 17:6)  I have to figuratively scratch my head on that one.  Certainly, I have a little bit of faith?  Don’t I?  I am not really asking for that much — just to heal a little break in one leg.  I must have enough faith for that?

This whole area of faith and healing, miracles, signs and wonders is mysterious to me.  When I look at my life I know I am growing closer to the Lord.  My prayer life is growing; I am growing in the fruit of the Spirit.  I am growing in my desire and ability to follow God’s will in all areas of my life.  I can look back and see real progress.  I experience a much deeper peace and joy than I used to — so I know I am on the right track.  Yet I still hunger to see the power of God manifest in my life and in those around me.

As I have said before, we have the same “high calling” that the early disciple received.  We are all called to  be witnesses to the kingdom of God.  This is a very challenging vocation.  Sure we have been clothed with power from on high. I believe that very deeply, but is it too much to ask for a little sign and/or wonder every now and then?  Please don’t misunderstand me; I don’t think that God has run out of power, nor do I think its His fault.  I am the problem — I am always the problem.

When I reflect on the canaanite woman, its clear that she was very determined to get help for her daughter.   Its also clear, that Jesus was challenging her to demonstrate her faith by His initial rebuff.  But notice her response.  She shouted at the Lord and kept shouting until he gave her what she wanted.  Perhaps I need to yell more.  Now that I think about it there are a number of reports of people shouting for help in the Gospels.  The blind man, Bartimaeus, for example, he kept crying out for Jesus to heal him even though many people were trying to shut him up. (Mark 10:46-52)  I suppose by comparison, my faith is really very timid, very tepid, perhaps even luke warm.  I like to say, when it comes to the spiritual life we usually get what we want.  Maybe I don’t want enough.  What do you think?

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Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Mark, Great refelction and question. I can relate. The other day I was meeting a friend for lunch and he was tied up. His secretary waited on me. I barely knew her, so I was suprised when she asked if I would pray over her for healing. I said, “Sure. But what type of healing?” She said “just general healing”. So I prayed for about a minute. Not feeling any particular anointing. I was even a bit self conscious as I rarely pray over people in public, let alone in a business office. At any rate, the prayer ended and the friend came out of his office and we went to lunch. The prayer encounter I thought, was very uneventful until i heard back from my friend a couple days later. “What did you pray when you prayed over my secretary?” he said. I asked him what he was talking about. He said when he got back to his office that the secretary was babbling about being overwhelmed with the power and presence of God. In fact, when another secretary entered the room, that secretary only made it part way into the office when the cross she was wearing was somehow flung to the floor. She stopped and exclaimed that there was a most powerful holy presence in the office and wanted to know what had happened and what was going on. Both women were by then overwhelmed by God’s presence in the room.
    I don’t know if the secretary got healed that day. And I don’t claim any special healing powers. But for some reason, God decided to show up and used that secretary’s faith and my feeble prayer that day, to unleash His presence in a most unusual way. God is a mysterious!

  2. Hi Mark,

    I love your reflection in this post. I love this whole (following) paragraph:

    “This whole area of faith and healing, miracles, signs and wonders is mysterious to me. When I look at my life I know I am growing closer to the Lord. My prayer life is growing; I am growing in the fruit of the Spirit. I am growing in my desire and ability to follow God’s will in all areas of my life. I can look back and see real progress. I experience a much deeper peace and joy than I used to — so I know I am on the right track. Yet I still hunger to see the power of God manifest in my life and in those around me.”

    For me, sometimes, the real miracle is in the middle of your paragraph, where you say, “I am growing in the fruit of the Spirit.”

    I’ve met quite a few men (and some women!) who seem to manifest great spiritual “power” but their personal lives are still dominated by fear, anxiety, covetousness, quarrels, and relational breakdown.

    Don’t get me wrong. I want to see miracles too. I just think that sometime the quiet conversion of our hearts (in the fruit of the spirit) end up being more powerful and compelling.

    I love your honesty and transparency.

    • Thanks Sam. You are right of course — conversion is more powerful, more compelling and hopefully lasts forever. But i would still like to see the lame man walking and leaping and praising God!

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