Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Avoiding "The Wedge"

I mentioned several weeks ago that Mrs. Moofish and I have been co-leading a weekly bible study together. Last night I taught on the Faith of the Canaanite Women.

This was a study I put together years ago, as part of a class on how to study the bible for the purpose of teaching. 

This is the third time I have had the opportunity to teach it. What amazes me is that each time I study this little, seven verse, story, I learn something completely new.

I was also amazed at God's timing. 'Cuz out of the 12 gals who showed up last night, no one needed this lesson more than I.

If you are not familiar with this story, you can find it here

To write out the complete lesson would take up way too much time, so I will start with my opening statement: 

How do we keep our life circumstances from placing a wedge between who we are (God's children) and what we need (Christ and His healing)?

This faithful women is a Canaanite, despised by the Jews. Coming from a society that loves all the wrong things. She has a daughter who is sick beyond any illness or disease we can imagine. She is demon possessed. This child's mother knows that all these things work against her, but she also knows the only hope she and her daughter have is Christ, the King of the Jews. 

She knows Whom she is seeking. She has watched Him be compassionate with everyone else. She has seen (or heard) of Him healing the sick, curing their diseases, giving sight to the blind, and raising the dead (Matthew 8-10). She knows He is compassionate. That he cares deeply for those who come to Him.  He is compassionate to those who seek Him.  He loves His people.

So she seeks Him. She asks Him to heal her demon possessed child.

The first time she asks Christ is silent. The second time she asks, He tells her she isn't His own. By this time the disciples are starting to resent her pestering. The third time His response seems a tad bit insulting. Ok - it feels down-right insulting. Still, she persists

It may seem by His response that He is being grouchy and impatient, but what we know of His character, we can assume this isn't true. What's more, The Canaanite didn't allow His response to hinder her what she knew to be true: that He was (and is) a compassionate and loving God. 

Here is a female, Gentile, from the wrong side of town, who has got some serious issues. If that weren't enough she has asked, three times, for something she is desperate to receive, and has been (seemingly) rejected. Rejected in front of others, and yet, in her faith, she will not concede. She will not give up on her only Hope. 

She knows He is the Messiah and she professes her faith in Him. She knows He is the answer to her daughters life, but more importantly we can see that Christ is not only interested in the physical life of the daughter, but in the spiritual life of this mom as well.

I can't help but put myself in the shoes of this women. If it had me I would likely have given up after the silent answer. Certainly after the second 'no', especially if the disciples started to complain about me. I would have allowed my pain in the moment to color my entire perception of Christ; exchanging what I know to be true about Him for what I perceived to be true in the moment.

The Lord has really been speaking to me on this subject this week. The Mister and I have had a big prayer concern over the last several months. We have prayed unceasingly for God's favor; His timing; His will...and just when we thought we had all things figured out, our prayers would be answered in ways that would lead to more prayer.  We have been in a pattern that we like to call "Wait and Pray."   Although we don't much like being in the middle of it.

It seems that we are slow learners, because God puts us in this position time and time again. 

This week as I was preparing to teach,  I was talking to God about all that has transpired in the last few months (and years, really).   I was asking Him to give me something fresh to give to the bible study gals. I was asking about The Wedge: What is it in life that keeps us from drawing nearer to Him? Obviously, in this little group of gals, we don't have the odds stacked against us as the Canaanite woman did in her time and culture.

This is what I heard Him say to me:

He said, "First, Kellie, let's talk about you. When you pray, and I am silent, does that mean I am not there? When you ask me for things in life you want specific answers to, and my answer feels like rejection to you, does that change who I am? Kellie, do what the Canaanite did, and remember the truth. Seek me still. I am the same yesterday, today and forever. I will never leave you or forsake you. I will not change."

God is using this ancient story to change my heart; to admit that I allow wedges to be placed (by my own doing) between Him and me.  Just as he draws out the faith of the Canaanite woman, He is drawing out my faith as we pray through an uncertain time.  The Lord, in His compassion, reminded me that I must remember truth; I must seek Him still. Even when things aren't done in my timing, or in my way.

And then I had to teach this study, as if I had any authority in which to do so! ;)

I love spending time studying scripture with other women. But today I am just as grateful to be at home "waiting and praying."

La Vida Dulce!


Anonymous said...

Oh, that just makes me wish I was there to sit under your teaching. I'm challenged and encouraged by what you shared. Perhaps I'll do a little studying of that passage on my own this week. Thank you!

Becky said...

Amen sister

Anonymous said...

Oh, this was good and no wonder he has you teaching. You have so much to teach because you keep learning new truths in this story! And what better way to teach them except from your own experience!

I am in a pray and wait period with something right now and it just doesn't feel great to be there. I feel restless. I keep hearing him say Be Still...

I want to fix it all up since I don't hear from God right away and I know where that gets me. nothing but trouble. So, I wait...Pray...wait some more.

Thanks for a great lesson today. I needed it.
I missed my bible study because I was home sick. You blessed me today, Kellie.

Anonymous said...

Kellie, I'm learning more about you every day! I want to hear more about this Bible study. Is it open for new participants? I had to stop the one I was going to because they switched the time on me. Tell me more!