But she answered and said to Him, “Yes, Lord, [but] even the dogs under the table feed on the children’s crumbs.”
This woman hears that Jesus is close enough to her home that she can make the journey and ask for His help. Her daughter is possessed by demon and this woman wants her daughter to be set free. Jesus’ answer? It is not good to give the children’s food to the dogs. Essentially, He tells her that the things He is doing — the miracles and the teachings and so on — are intended for the nation of Israel; God’s Chosen People. It was Israel that had been promised a Messiah and He was come to them. The story does not end there. The woman is persistent. She replies to Jesus what is contained in this morning’s verse.
She does not argue the veracity of Jesus’ statement. She freely admits that the Messiah was promised to Israel and that it is not good to take what is intended for one to give it to another. In fact, she agrees. Her reply is Yes, Lord. There is no argument; no haggling; no bargaining; no wrestling with God. She simply concedes the truth of what He has said. And she keeps going.
She does not stop with the truth that Jesus has given and simply sigh in resignation and walk away. Yes, the Messiah was promised to Israel. Yes, it is a bad thing to take form one in order to give to another. Yes, these things are true. It is also true that there is nothing wrong with giving one’s leftovers to another. She puts it in these terms: even the dogs under the table feed on the children’s crumbs. She agrees that it is bad to take from the children to feed the dogs. She adds that the dogs are allowed to eat what the children drop. Did all of Israel believe in Christ? Nope. Still don’t. Her point? Some of them do not believe and I do. Some of them are explaining away Your miracles and I am looking for one. Some of them are ignoring what You say and I hear it, agree with it, and want to engage with You on it. She was not looking for Him to take away what rightfully belonged to another. She understood that what she was asking was crumbs.
Do I have that kind of faith? Do I come to God with the full realization that the Messiah was promised to Israel and I am grafted in, as Paul wrote? Do I understand that the manifestations of God’s power that I can seek in my own life are crumbs, not even the whole meal? What is it that I need from God? Ultimately: crumbs.
God, please let me catch the crumbs; the blessings that others would forfeit. Let me see Your power at work in my life and let me understand just how little I am really asking. To the One Who spoke the universe into being, the things I ask are no effort at all.