Matthew 15:25-28 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.
This story of a mother’s desperate actions to save a beloved daughter highlights for me what Mother’s Day embodies. It is a day to celebrate the amazing love and work of the first woman in our lives.
A mother’s love is so vital to the emotional and physical health of a child. Her love and approval is the first we seek, and her acceptance of us as worthy of her time creates in us a sense of our value and worth. It is their willingness to expend so much energy on caring for their children that makes mothers such wonderful creatures, willing to do anything for their children.
In the story, a Canaanite woman seeks Jesus’s help for a demon-possessed daughter who was “suffering teribly.” It is a testimony to her ferocious love for her child that she confronted Jesus for help, because Jewish men weren’t supposed to greet women in public. And even when it appeared that He wasn’t listening and His disciples wanted Him to send her away, she stood her ground, shouting loudly and desperately.
Then, Jesus began a most interesting dialogue with her. He couldn’t have missed the immensity of her faith in His healing powers and her courage in doing whatever she had to do to help her sick daughter, even if it meant embarrassing herself in the process. Mothers aren’t easily put off when it comes to doing what is right for their children.
What is amazing is her wisdom, as she understood that he was not calling her a pejorative term when he used the term”dog,” but was explaining to her that the gifts of salvation were first for the Jew. Her response underscored her knowledge of Him as the Messiah who would bring blessing to the whole world through the Jews.
At the end, he assured her that her request had been granted. And with a certainty derived from her faith in Him, she went home with great anticipation, expecting to find what she did: her daughter had been healed. I hope that when her daughter heard the story of her healing, that she understood the depth, breadth, and width of her mother’s love for her, and that she appreciated it, not as entitlement, but as a precious gift.
On this day, as we celebrate the mothers in our lives, whether they gave us birth, adopted us legally, or informally took us under their wings to care for us, let us thank God for their strength, endurance, and unfailing love. But, most of all, if you still have your mother or mother figure in your life, remember that flowers and candy and gifts are good, but more important is telling her what she means to you, a gift that will touch her heart and make all those long days worthwhile.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the women who do the unpaid work that truly keeps a country and a people great!