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Thursday, August 14, 2014

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"Have mercy on me, Lord!" the woman pleads. Mercy is a word that means to give kind or forgiving treatment of someone who could be treated harshly. The woman says, "I know! I may not deserve your kindness, but please, do it anyway." And maybe she is thinking, "I believe you can. I believe in you as one who will show mercy, even if I am not 'worth it.' And even if I am not worthy to sit at your table, you are one who will show mercy to my daughter who is in need of your healing touch."

While the disciples have little time for this woman, and even Jesus at first refuses to listen to her, still her faith propels her to her knees. "Help me!" she continues to plead. She will not let go.

When in our life do we fall to our knees and plead, "Help me." Not very often, I would guess. Even with all the history of Jesus' love and forgiveness of the outcast, we still find it hard to fall to our knees and even harder to completely believe that Jesus will grant us mercy.

But he does.

O God of mercy, embolden us in faith to plead for your mercy and know that beyond all our fears you stand ready to hear and answer our prayers. Lord, help us to believe. Amen.

Amanda Schultz
Pastor of Bethany, Immanuel and Trinity Lutheran Churches, Cashton, Wis.
Master of Divinity , 2013

Matthew 15:21-28 (NRSV)

21 Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon.
22 Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, "Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon."
23 But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, "Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us."
24 He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
25 But she came and knelt before him, saying, "Lord, help me."
26 He answered, "It is not fair to take the children's food and throw it to the dogs."
27 She said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table."
28 Then Jesus answered her, "Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish." And her daughter was healed instantly.

This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.