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  • Jennifer Hastings

When Suffering Hits Your Child

Updated: Oct 9, 2019


Even the Crumbs

The first sign of the sun streams into my window warming my face, I’ve been awake for hours and it is nice not to be the only one awake. It is impossible to sleep with her ramming her bed against the wall and chanting under her breath.

My tears begin again and the desperation overcomes me. She has been like this for over a month. She went from such a happy little seven-year-old girl, to well, my mother’s heart doesn’t want to admit it, but a monster. She screams she hits, she spits, we can’t even get close to her. When she isn’t having a fit, she just stares at the wall and is so still and quiet, we wonder if she is still breathing. I want my baby back. I long to hear her voice and laugh again. My body aches for her small one, I want to hold her in my arms and kiss the back of her head again. How did we get here?

The whispers are all over town. People avoid our gaze. I’m not sure if they are feeling sorry for us or are just afraid if they make eye contact with us something bad will happen to them. We’ve spent all our money seeking help for her and now, Steven is picking up extra jobs. We never even see each other anymore. I’m beginning to wonder if he stays away longer than he has to. He can’t bear to see her like this, but I can’t hold it together day after day by myself. I’m cracking under this weight.

My mind keeps replaying what I overheard yesterday at the market. I’m getting ready to head back home knowing I don’t have enough food to make it through the week when I hear news that makes me freeze in my tracks.

“Yes, I heard large crowds are following him and instead of sending them away to eat, he just prayed over five loaves of bread and two fish…” You can tell this man is eating up being the center of attention. The crowd is pressing in close to hear his news. “He fed at least five thousand people with it!”

Some people immediately walked away and I am turning to leave when I hear a woman pipe up and say, “Well, that is nothing…I heard he commanded demons to come out of a man and they went into some pigs and the pigs ran over a cliff. I think the owner of the pigs was quite upset, but the demon-possessed man’s family said they couldn’t believe it, he had been like that for years and now he is normal.”

My heart feels a glimmer of hope, but my brain shuts it down. Are you going to believe this guy made something out of nothing? Impossible! Rubbish!

The crowd continues to discuss the miracles when I hear a loud voice say, “Don’t believe it, go see for yourself. He will be close to Tyre and Sidon tomorrow.”

Go and see for yourself….these words ricochet around in my thoughts as I make my way back to the house. Those same words are stuck with me today. I drag myself out of bed to see if Susan will eat breakfast. I open her door, “Are you hungry?” I jump out of the way just as a plate flies by my head and shatters into pieces. I slam the door shut letting my anger get the best of me.

Go and see for yourself. Before I can change my mind, I lock her door, grab my bag and set off for Sidon.

Every few feet, I push my guilt away, leaving her locked up like a caged animal isn’t right, but I’ve got to do something. I convince myself being locked up is the safest place for her right now. My feet and mind are gaining momentum. My brain kicks into some kind of alternate universe where I can only think about helping Susan. If this man is really healing people, then what kind of mother am I, if I don’t even try? As I walk, I begin thinking about how the Jewish people I know talk about how their God has delivered them in the past and how he is supposed to be sending someone to deliver them again. Something about... how a King will come from the lineage of David. I am running now, my brain and heart in sync. Something has clicked and I know I must talk to this man.

I am close enough to see the Jewish men gathered around him. One of the tall men bends down for a moment and I see him. I catch a glimpse of him. No one has to tell me which one he is...he is different. Mom boldness comes over me and I shout, ”Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.”

I know he hears me, there is something in his look, is it love? I try and move closer to him, but his men are keeping him from me. They tell me to go away. I go around them and sneak closer to him. He says, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”

I take my opportunity with him, I fall at his feet and all I can manage to mutter is, “Help me, Lord!”

He places his hand on my head and says gently, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and give it to the dogs.”

At that moment, with his hand on my head, I know I am in the presence of greatness and at the same time, I feel how much I fail in comparison to him. “Awe, yes Lord, but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

I look up at him with raised eyebrows and he looks at me like he is a proud parent and I am a beloved daughter. Even though the room is filled with important religious leaders, it is like we are the only ones there.

“Woman, you have great faith!” He said as he chuckles. “You request is granted.”

I take my time walking back home. The encounter with the Lord still swirling in mind as the best moment of my life. I can’t wait to see Susan again and take her in my arms, but I want to hang on to every second spent in his presence. I try and commit it to memory.

I hear the celebration before I make the bend in the road to our house. All our neighbors and family are celebrating. My husband comes running down the drive to meet me. I jump in his arms and interrupt him, “I know, I know! We got our baby back two hours ago!” I whisper in his ear.

He pulls away from me and looks confused. “How did you…”

I take his hand anxious to get inside. “Husband, have I got a story for you.”

Application: What can we learn from the Canaanite Woman and her faith?

It can be easy to read the Bible and think it doesn’t apply to me. Life was different way back then. They don’t know what we go through. A mother’s love can be painful. It can be heartbreaking. Motherhood was painful a long time ago and it is equally as hard today. Maybe your child isn’t demon possessed, but maybe your child is battling an addiction. Maybe your child has diabetes, maybe your child is autistic, maybe your child doesn’t have any friends, maybe your child gets bullied for being overweight, maybe your child is behind in school, or maybe he doesn’t fit in with the other kids. Maybe your child is in prison.

Whatever your child is facing, it isn't easy wanting the best for you child. Sometimes we come to the end of ourselves. In the moment when you've done all you can do, all you know to do, is sometimes the moment when you realize, there is one more option. There is someone I can trust with my child more than my own might and strength. Sometimes we forget, God loves our children more than we are capable of loving them.

Be like this woman who realized the best place for her was at the Master’s table. Even the crumbs have healing power! I don’t know how far the woman had to walk to find Jesus, but I do know, she went to him. Have you wandered far from the Lord? Are you shouldering the burden on your own? Have you given your child’s issues to the Lord or are you carrying them with you every second of the day? Come to the Lord. Bring your child and give them to the Lord. Picture yourself physically picking up your child, even if they are 15, 25, or 50. Give them to the Lord. Drop them there. Leave them at the foot of the cross. All your worries, all your hopes and dreams for them. You think no loves your children more than you do and this is where you are wrong. I guarantee the best possible Earthly dream you can dream for your kids pales in comparison to the plans the Almighty has for them.

Where is your faith today?

Are you trusting in the world’s wisdom or have you come to God’s table knowing even the crumbs from heaven are better than anything this world is serving?

The Faith of the Canaanite Woman

Matthew 15:21-28

Leaving that place Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from the vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.”

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 their dogs.”

“Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”

Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed that very hour.

Regret to Redemption

Last Minute Reprieve


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