...a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard of him and came and fell down at his feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, a Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. And he said to her, "Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." But she answered him, "Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs." (Mark 7:25-28 ESV)I believe in healing. I mean, I believe in healing today. Not too many Christians dispute the idea that people were supernaturally healed by Jesus when he was walking the Earth as a human being, but I believe that God still supernaturally heals now. You can read about it in this blog, and you can take a look at the list of healing Scriptures on my Web site, if you need proof. But sometimes I get sick and don't get better for a while. Recently I caught something that may have been a mild cold or flu, and I spent a week and a half coughing and feeling vaguely uncomfortable. I might get a backache or a headache, and just ride it out. Often I never even consider the idea of approaching Jesus Christ, the One Who touched people with incurable diseases and made them better, the One Who said that He only did the things that God the Father wanted Him to do... often I never even think to approach Him myself for healing. Maybe it's male machismo; maybe I think I'm tough and I can handle it. Maybe it's Christian machismo. Maybe I think that if it's something I can deal with using Aspirin or Sudafed or Band-Aids, it's not something that requires God's help. Maybe God's will for me to be healthy just doesn't occur to me!
Or maybe it's something deeper, and frankly, more stupid than all of those things. I was thinking about the Syrophoenician woman (try to drop THAT vocabulary word into a conversation sometime and see what happens!) in the story I've quoted above from the book of Mark, and how, even though she wasn't Jewish and Jesus, right to her face, called Gentiles "dogs," she had enough faith to ask for the "crumbs" of healing that the children missed. I know that Your power belongs to Your people, she was saying. But is there a little left over for me? One of the "dogs?"
As far as I know, I don't have any Jewish blood in my background. I'm a Gentile, like that woman. But I do know that some Jewish blood, shed by Jesus Himself, gave me the opportunity to become part of the family by faith. I may have once been a "dog," but now I'm one of the "children," so by Jesus' own words, I have the privilege of being "fed first" with healing power. So why don't I ask for it?
I think it might be that for some odd, twisted reason, I think that God's healing is for people who aren't Christians. It seems selfish, maybe, like I'm drinking out of a fire hose while others stand around thirsty. Or maybe I've somehow gotten the idea that supernatural healing is designed primarily as a sign to win the World to Christ. All of those ideas are simply ridiculous! I don't believe in a God who withholds His blessings from His own people and gives them away to drum up business, like some guy handing out free pens at a trade show. Miracles are there as a sign to people who do not yet know Christ, that's true, but I think I'm throwing out the baby with the bath water. I'm throwing the whole loaf into the dog's bowl, and starving the childmyselfwhen I am in need of healing. God's not going to run out of power, of course. There's enough healing for me and unbelievers that need to see God's power. And once I, one of the children, am fed first, I have a word of testimony to share with others. Who knows... a story about my supernaturally-cured headache might be the word someone needs that will give them faith to receive God's healing for a brain tumor. Bread is bread! Let's eat some, then let's share!