A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.” Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” 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.Matthew 15:22-28 (NIV)
Whether or not God chooses to heal “at that moment,” or whether there is a prolonged process of healing, we know God can release the child from illness if He chooses. Knowing in faith that God is a loving God, we hope for a greater purpose for our child who suffers.
Is God more loving if He rewards a parent who prays for their suffering child or is He more loving if he answers the prayer of the woman who steps out in strong faith and total surrender in God?
The Canaanite woman’s request showed her full surrender in faith as well as her sacrificial love for her daughter. Jesus’ choice to heal was not a response to surrender, but to the “great faith” of the mother. God’s response is not just a demonstration of the kindness of healing the illness. The example of this healing and Jesus’ answering her plea acknowledged that she knew Him and had submitted to Him as Lord.
This shows the battle that is beyond our awareness. God’s love and compassion certainly responds to suffering and loss. But illness and suffering are not always the only priority in a period of crisis. God feels more pain and sees suffering that is beyond pain and suffering from illness. This is the eternal suffering that occurs apart from Him. His emotional reaction to this pain is stronger than the reactions He has to “regular” pain and suffering.
Does this demonstrate God’s insensitivity to pain and suffering on earth? If we believe a loving God, the answer requires a “next level” of understanding of pain and sufferings. There is greater, more intense pain and suffering that we are often not aware of, that we don’t feel yet. This is the pain and suffering that He sees for those who choose separateness from Him eternally.
There is greater, more intense pain and suffering that we are often not aware of, that we don’t feel yet. This is the pain and suffering that He sees for those who choose separateness from Him eternally.
It is more crucial that we know Him, so we don’t experience the consequence of eternity alone. This is the greater eternal suffering and pain of which current illness is only a small taste.
He cares about our current pain and our childrens’ pains. He sees our current and future pains. Our loving God is the author of sympathy and compassion, and His vision is eternal.