Still running for the cheese (or why this blog still exists)

As my regular readers can tell, this has been a dry year for me. Just look at the number of posts this year vs. 2008! Awhile back, I had considered either shutting down the Maze, or starting a new blog that would more accurately reflect where I am in life now. Truth be told, sometimes I come here, look around, and feel distinctly hypocrytical about the things I want to write. I'm sure I'm not the only one to ever be in that kind of place.
As the time in between posts has grown longer, I came to realize something. Without the past years' material, where I am now makes very little sense. What good is the destination without the journey? As Christians, so much of the best stuff that happens to us is in the times God is molding us to His image. To throw away the evidence of that process would somehow cheapen the result, I think.
So, here we are, dear friends. I think my little mousie may just have rounded a corner finally. Some things will change around here to reflect the changes in my heart. And you know what? That's ok. As much as I typically rage against anything changed in my life, I'm learning to accept the God-given ones. My prayer is that some of you may be encouraged by what you read here. Hey, you may even be challenged. And of course, if you know me, then you know you always stand a good chance of being offended too. Not intentionally, to be sure! Just know that what you find as you wander this Maze with me may surprise you as much as it does me.

All that to say this:


Welcome to



Thursday, November 20, 2008

Mind of God, will of man

Typically I have some smarty-pants kinda title for my posts, but not today Dear Squeaker.
Today I "overheard" an interesting conversation. (as much as one can overhear anything online)
Someone asked if a person can influence what God will do, or change the course of what He's decided. In other words, can a person move God's hand? The example cited was Matthew 15:21-28, specifically NKJV.

21 Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.” 23 But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.” 24 But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25 Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!” 26 But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.” 27 And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” 28 Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

The emphasis here was on verse 25. The idea that although denied, the woman worshipped anyway, believing that Jesus would indeed heal her daughter despite His previous decision not to.
Hmmm.

I'm gonna put a few other translations up (the one I use all the time is NIV) and then kinda tell you all what I think the key part is.

NIV:
21Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession."
23Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, "Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us."
24He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel."
25The woman came and knelt before him. "Lord, help me!" she said.
26He replied, "It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs."
27"Yes, Lord," she said, "but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table."
28Then Jesus answered, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted." And her daughter was healed from that very hour.


The Message:
21-22From there Jesus took a trip to Tyre and Sidon. They had hardly arrived when a Canaanite woman came down from the hills and pleaded, "Mercy, Master, Son of David! My daughter is cruelly afflicted by an evil spirit."
23Jesus ignored her. The disciples came and complained, "Now she's bothering us. Would you please take care of her? She's driving us crazy."
24Jesus refused, telling them, "I've got my hands full dealing with the lost sheep of Israel."
25Then the woman came back to Jesus, went to her knees, and begged. "Master, help me."
26He said, "It's not right to take bread out of children's mouths and throw it to dogs."
27She was quick: "You're right, Master, but beggar dogs do get scraps from the master's table."
28Jesus gave in. "Oh, woman, your faith is something else. What you want is what you get!" Right then her daughter became well.

NASB:
21Jesus went away from there, and withdrew into the district of Tyre and Sidon.
22And a Canaanite woman from that region came out and began to cry out, saying, "Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed."
23But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came and implored Him, saying, "Send her away, because she keeps shouting at us."
24But He answered and said, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
25But she came and began to bow down before Him, saying, "Lord, help me!"
26And He answered and said, "It is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs."
27But she said, "Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters' table."
28Then Jesus said to her, "O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish." And her daughter was healed at once.

NLT:
21 Then Jesus left Galilee and went north to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Gentile woman who lived there came to him, pleading, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! For my daughter is possessed by a demon that torments her severely.”
23 But Jesus gave her no reply, not even a word. Then his disciples urged him to send her away. “Tell her to go away,” they said. “She is bothering us with all her begging.”
24 Then Jesus said to the woman, “I was sent only to help God’s lost sheep—the people of Israel.”
25 But she came and worshiped him, pleading again, “Lord, help me!”
26 Jesus responded, “It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.”
27 She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even dogs are allowed to eat the scraps that fall beneath their masters’ table.”
28 “Dear woman,” Jesus said to her, “your faith is great. Your request is granted.” And her daughter was instantly healed.

Amplified Bible:

21And going away from there, Jesus withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon.
22And behold, a woman who was a Canaanite from that district came out and, with a [loud, troublesomely urgent] cry, begged, Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is miserably and distressingly and cruelly possessed by a demon!
23But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came and implored Him, saying, Send her away, for she is crying out after us.
24He answered, I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
25But she came and, kneeling, worshiped Him and kept praying, Lord, help me!
26And He answered, It is not right (proper, becoming, or fair) to take the children's bread and throw it to the little dogs.
27She said, Yes, Lord, yet even the little pups (little whelps) eat the crumbs that fall from their [young] masters' table.
28Then Jesus answered her, O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you wish. And her daughter was cured from that moment.


Ok, so that's probably enough translations huh? Thumbs Up Whew!
While each of the 6 different translations say verse 25 a little differently, they all keep verse 23 essentially the same and I think that's where we need to look.
Jesus never actually said "No.". Technically, He didn't say anything to her at first.
I think there's really 2 questions here, and they are 2 that people tend to lump together. Can you make God change His mind and can you make Him act in a different fashion than He originally did towards you?
Hmmm.
I don't personally think we can make God change His mind. I think He has planned things much the way we do. Plan A and Plan B. Which plan He chooses depends upon our actions and choices. Sometimes, that choice might be prayer or worship. How often do we know a loved one (such as our spouse) wants something specific from us, but we wait for them to ask? I don't know about you, but I do it a lot. I don't think it's any different with God. He knew I really didn't want to get AF while I was sick this week. He waited to act until I asked Him to help me deal with it.
(incidentally, the answer I got to that prayer was not what I thought it'd be and that there is another great post too...well, not about AF but about being careful whatcha pray for...DOH)
Maybe sometimes God chooses not to answer, to have us wait, and we mistake the silence for a "No". Maybe sometimes He really does say "No" and after much prayer, the change we feel is the God-given ability to accept His answer. Maybe He's just waiting to hear from us, and maybe sometimes He's got a lesson for us in the waiting.
There's a lot we'll never clearly know about the mind of God and the will of man this side of Heaven. Those 2 concepts have been at odds since the Garden. And that's ok. It has to be. Because if you spend your time railing against it all you'll never fully enjoy the real beauty of God. That He really is waiting to hear from us every day. Our prayers, our praises, our tears, our joys. He wants it all. He can't complete His plans without it.

Til next squeak,


1 Squeaks from the Maze:

Lori said...

This is excellent. Thanks for sharing!!

 
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