Have you ever been in the middle of doing your “thing” when someone comes along looking for your assistance with their “thing”? Not only asking for assistance, but asking for assistance right now and not letting it go? Perhaps it has occurred with a neighbor or co-worker? If you’re a parent, you have no doubt lived this experience repeatedly, as though stuck in the movie Groundhog Day. The story is usually the same and their persistent pleading eventually moves you to action to help the individual with whatever it is (if only in an attempt to make them go away and let you get back to your “stuff”).
Have you ever taken a moment to consider why they chose to come to you for help in the first place? Furthermore, why didn’t they get the message that you were busy and just move on rather than persist? Maybe they recognized you as the one, in that moment, who had the power to help, the power to meet their need. In the case of our children this is certainly true. Though not always convenient, our children see us as the ones with the solutions to problem situations. They recognize that under everything else, we have a desire to help them and see them do well.
Jesus had an experience like that when he encountered a Canaanite woman while traveling in Gentile territory in Mark 15:21-28. Though she was not one of God’s “chosen” people, she recognized the authority and loving compassion of Jesus. She earnestly sought healing for her daughter who was possessed by demons. She persisted even though her initial pleas were ignored and then eventually directly put off by Jesus Himself. Through her persistence she demonstrated great faith in Jesus’ power and compassionate mercy.
But she came, knelt before Him, and said, “Lord, help me!” He answered, “It isn’t right to take the children’s bread and throw it to their dogs.” “Yes, Lord,” she said, “yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table!” Then Jesus replied to her, “Woman, your faith is great. Let it be done for you as you want.” And from that hour her daughter was cured. Mark 15:25-28
There is a lesson for us in how Jesus handles persistent pleas even when they are an interruption. Just as the Canaanite woman saw Jesus for who He was, perhaps these moments are an opportunity for us to show Jesus to the people we stop to help. We project the love of Jesus when we take the time to act and meet others’ needs in compassion.
The next time you encounter a relentless request for assistance will you see a nagging interruption or a new opportunity?