Jesus and the syrophoenicianHe 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 their dogs.” (Mat 15:24-26 NIV)

The first gift of our Lord to this heathen women does not look like one, but rather looks like a requisition. It sounds entirely like a refusal and rejection when the Lord answers her after firstly ignoring her entirely. However his initial silence followed by his negative response strengthened the faith of this women that it became steadfast and powerful as we hear in the gospel. It is and remains true, that Gods apparent silence and delay in answering prayers are some of his strange ways of empowering our faith. Faith without struggle does not really holdout, does not purify and finally does not move closer to God as it should. Faith and struggling belong together. Faith needs to bear the ongoing attacks of our own flesh, sin and the devil. Finally this faith exits these attacks and temptations joyfully, at peace, purified and empowered.

O Lord, I am yours, help me! I trust in you and wait for your help as I am surrounded by darkness and your helping hand seems to be far off. You will not leave me. I trust your promise and commitment. You will not let me stand ashamed and neglected forever. Grant that I don’t succumb to the multitude of temptations and that I can endure the afflictions that bear down on me. Grant me the respite of your comfort and quietness and finally a blessed death and your eternal peace. Amen.

Help, Lord, help in fear and need; have mercy on us Lord, you faithful God! We are yours despite devil, world and all sin.

I trust in you, o Lord my God; if you are mine, what more do I need? I have you as my own, o dearest Jesus Christ. You are my God and savior blest!

Therefore I rejoice with heart, mind and soul. I am confident and wait for you, trusting entirely on your most holy word. Help, Lord, help, you faithful God + (Martin Moller, 1547-1606)

This is a translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Friday after the Sunday Reminiscere (Second Sunday in Lent). The hymn by Paul Gerhard was translated rather literally, but not poetically. Both are found on Pg. 129 in Lob sei Dir ewig, o Jesu!   (Eternal Praise to you o Jesus!) edited by A. Schuster and puplished in the Freimund Verlag, Neuendettelsau 1949.

About Wilhelm Weber

Pastor at the Old Latin School in the Lutherstadt Wittenberg
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