Jesus, Kids with Special Needs, and Their Parents, Part 4
Jesus, kids with special needs, and their parents mattered to Jesus. He showed compassion to parents who brought their children into his presence. In part 4 of this series about Jesus, kids with special needs, Mark Arnold takes a look at a Gentile mother and her suffering child.
What Happened in the Story
In this story, which is found in Jesus travels to Tyre and Sidon, and a Canaanite woman comes to him. She acknowledges that he is the “Lord, the Son of David.” Then she asks for mercy for her and her daughter, who is suffering terribly and is described as demon-possessed. Initially Jesus ignores her and after the disciples ask him to send her away, tries to dismiss her. She persists, reasoning that though she is not a Jew, she believes and should be helped. Jesus sees her faith and heals her daughter.
How the Parents Reacted
Persistence and Determination: It was hard for a Canaanite woman to approach Jesus before he and the disciples rebuff her. Still, she persists and keeps asking.
Theological Reasoning: She ends up in theological and Christological debate with Jesus. Such a response was unheard of for a Gentile woman, and her faith changes the mind of God! . She changes the mind of God! Her persistence, reasoning, and faith are rewarded. Her daughter is healed.
What We Can Learn from Jesus, Kids with Special Needs, and their Parents
We are often persistent and determined when advocating for our child. How many times do we go into a meeting about your child with boxing gloves on? I know I have. But are we also persistent and determined in our prayers for our child before God? Are we afraid to push back on God if we feel rebuffed? It’s not wrong to argue and debate with God, and sometimes it is in the persistent, continued, debating prayer that we can see the breakthrough.
Do you like what you see at DifferentDream.com? You can receive more great content by subscribing to the monthly Different Dream newsletter and signing up for the daily RSS feed delivered to your email inbox. You can sign up for the first in the pop up box and the second at the bottom of this page.
By Mark Arnold
Mark Arnold is the Additional Needs Ministry Director at Urban Saints, a leading national Christian children’s and youth organization. He is co-founder of the Additional Needs Alliance, a national and international advocate for children and young people with additional needs or disabilities. Mark is a Churches for All and Living Fully Network partner, a member of the Council for Disabled Children and the European Disability Network. He writes an additional needs column for Premier Youth and Children’s Work (YCW) magazine and blogs at The Additional Needs Blogfather. He is father to James, who has autism spectrum condition, associated learning disability, and epilepsy. To find out more about how Mark’s work can help you, contact him at: email@example.com or @Mark_J_Arnold.
Churches must welcome those with disabilities so families are prepared for hard calls like one we recieved. “We’ve decided to stop dialysis.”
When life is not as it should be, how should we respond? When my husband and I were in that place, we followed my parents’ example. And it worked.
One thing I know is true when the storms of nature or caregiving arise. By the grace of God, we’ll get through this. And so will you.