THE SONG OF THE SYRO-PHOENICIAN WOMAN

There is no way you can outwit the Lord.                        1

If you or other people think you’re clever,

It is my joy and duty to record:

The keenest intellectuals can never

Rival His wit, whose wisdom lives forever,

No matter how they think or how they try.

The Pharisees fell short in their endeavor

To catch Him in His words. His deft reply

Still magnifies His Father, who is throned on high.


Yet it is possible to move the Master,

To touch His very tender heart and mind.

The prelude may be personal disaster,

By which your life is suddenly defined.

To what delighted you, you’re deaf and blind,

And your whole soul is focused on relief.

The help of God is all you hope to find,

As you have mighty struggles with your grief,

And even greater fibrillations of belief.


Then you will seek the Lord with all your heart,

And you will focus on His every word.

And there’s no reason not to use your art

When you His hardest utterance have heard.

By lowliness His Majesty is stirred,

When He is scanning you for signs of pride.

The humble very soon will be preferred;

Their greatest need will shortly be supplied

By Him on whom they have so pressingly relied.


I had a faith that He could heal my daughter.

Madness makes other troubles seem a joke;

And he was mad, the demon who had caught her,

Who would so unpredictably provoke

Her strange behavior and her stranger croak,

Which made her seem both more and less than human.

She suffered much and often from his stroke.

To send him back to fire and bitumen

I knew would take much more than knowledge and acumen.


If like me you meet Christ, and He declines                        5

To help you or give you the time of day,

Remember that adversity refines

The people He is guiding on the Way.

Conditions that immerse you in dismay

May be His means to draw your gifting out.

The quality He wants you to display

May come through struggle with your fear and doubt,

Through love that forces you the rules of men to flout.


So listen to His words and let Him lead,

Whatever way the conversation goes.

He never is forgetful of your need,

But what you really need He only knows,

And He may have a plan that will disclose

Your strength for other people’s benefit.

His love for us is more than we suppose,

So do your best to listen and submit:

You still may find a way to exercise your wit.


Don’t be distracted by His followers

Who say you are not worthy of His time.

Let their indifference be the goad that spurs

You to increasing effort in the climb

To penetrate the atmosphere sublime

Where you can meet with Jesus face to face.

He’ll speak, and you will have a chance to chime,

Your turn effectively to state your case,

And He will not despise your gender or your race.


Despite the handicaps they started with,

Both Ruth and Rahab came to lasting peace.

You need to disregard both man and myth

Advising you to let your crying cease,

Because you are unworthy of release

From all your troubles. Jesus will esteem

The ones whose fervent orisons increase,

Making the mercy of the Lord their theme,

Trusting His first repulses are not what they seem.


He may rebuff you, but He also knows

The honors that He’s saving just for you,

The gifts He unexpectedly bestows.

Besides my daughter’s healing, there were two,

That it is now my pleasure to review.

One is, whenever children are all thumbs,

Mothers will tend to think of me anew,

Each time the energetic puppy comes,

The moment he perceives the falling of the crumbs.


“I will not let You go until You bless me:”                        10

So Jacob wrestled to a better state.

When love and desperation did possess me,

The Lord assured me that my faith was great.

So be discerning while He makes you wait,

And pray that He your words will help you pick.

He loves to be indulgent to His Mate,

Who’s learned humility will do the trick—

The Bride composed of all the living and the quick.









               Scripture Sources and Notes:


The Song of the Syro-Phoenician Woman: Matthew 15:21-28; Mark 7:24-30.


Syro-Phoenician Woman, stanza 1, Pharisees . . . endeavor . . . His deft reply: “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Matthew 22:15-22; Mark 12:13-17; Luke 20:20-26.


Syro-Phoenician Woman, stanza 4, Madness makes other troubles seem a joke: “Every trouble in life is a joke compared to madness.”—Walter Bagehot, Victorian economist and writer, whose mother suffered from bouts of insanity.


Syro-Phoenician Woman, stanza 8, Ruth and Rahab: Like the Syro-Phoenician woman, Ruth and Rahab were Gentiles.


Syro-Phoenician Woman, stanza 10, “I will not let You go until You bless me”:

Genesis 32:26.

            The living and the quick: in contrast to “the quick and the dead,” (II Timothy 4:1 in the King James Bible and some other English translations; “the living and the dead” in most modern translations.)

            “The Quick and the Dead is an English phrase originating in William Tyndale's English translation of the New Testament (1526), ‘I testifie therfore before god and before the lorde Iesu Christ which shall iudge quicke and deed at his aperynge in his kyngdom’ [2 Tim 4:1], and used by Thomas Cranmer [in] his translation of the Nicene Creed and Apostles' Creed for the first Book of Common Prayer (1540). In the following century the idiom was referenced both by Shakespeare's Hamlet (1603) and the King James Bible (1611).—Wikipedia, “The quick and the dead (idiom).”


   


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