Holly, you’ll appreciate this one!
Psycho Bananas and the Power of Pleading
When my daughter was three, I (very stupidly) decided to take her and my 4 month old son on a road trip – by myself – to visit my college roommate and her family. During our visit, one incident occurred that is recounted every time we are together and has since been recorded in the book of great stories to tell at Meghan’s rehearsal dinner. She wanted a banana. I asked her, “Do you want me to cut the banana, or do you want to bite it (keep it whole)?” She answered, “Cut it.” I proceeded to slice her banana, and when I oh-so-lovingly placed it in front of her, she opened that cute little rosebud mouth and let out a glass-shattering scream, “I WANT TO BITE THE BANANA!!!” That was the moment when I knew my child was indeed possessed.
Her younger brothers have followed in her footsteps, though often with considerably less drama. Their moods can turn on a dime, and my husband and I just look at each other and say, “Do you want to bite the banana?”
But as Solomon says, there is nothing new under the sun. Even in the Gospels, there were possessed children; though their demons were real and did much nastier things to these kids than causing them to scream about a banana. In each instance, their parents came to Jesus, pleading for their children. He didn’t answer them immediately – some commentaries believe that He was testing their faith – but He did answer, and the children were ultimately healed.
My same daughter, six years later, has been battling her own demons lately. Third grade is just tough. The whole “fitting in” thing seems to start so much earlier now than when we were girls. It is heartbreaking to see her so unhappy, and if I could jump into her skin and solve all of her insecurities, I would in a second. But, of course, I can’t. This is her battle, her learning experience, her chance to take baby steps in becoming the young woman that God plans for her to be.
Still, I am intrigued by the pleading parents. Their children were helpless, struggling against something so fierce, so confusing, so overwhelming that they couldn’t fight for themselves. Their parents, not knowing what else to do, chased after Jesus and begged Him to help. Their children – the ones they loved as deeply as only a parent can understand – were hurting and couldn’t pray for themselves, so their parents prayed for them.
That, ladies, is our calling. That is our job. That is what we are designed, destined, and commanded to do. Our kids can’t do it for themselves right now. They, too, are helpless. Each of them struggles and succumbs to their own “demons” that they don’t recognize or know how to fight. They lack the understanding to cry out to their Creator, so they cry out to us, and we are to intercede for them. We are to battle for them. Fight for them. Plead for them.
And here is the promise: He will hear and honor the desperate cries of a mother’s tender heart, and He will answer.
*Stories found in Matthew 15:22-28; 17:14-18; Mark 7:25-30; Luke 9:38-42; John 4:47-53.