Matthew 15: 21-28: Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.” 23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” 24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” 25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. 26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” 27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.
What a marvelous example of faith! It seems as if Jesus puts this woman off, as if he really doesn’t care about her at all. There is a little detail in the story, though, that doesn’t come through in the English. The word for “dogs” is not the word for a mongrel street dog, but for the pet that sat and begged from the children at the table. But even so, her faith must have been built on observing what kind of Savior Jesus was. In his ministry he showed mercy to the sinful and hope for the helpless. She wasn’t about to let Jesus pass by without asking persistently, as Jesus taught us to pray.
Sometimes God puts us off, or at least seems to. Our prayers are not answered immediately. Or they are not answered in the way we hoped they would be answered. Sometimes, when we are in trouble, the trouble only gets worse when we cry out to the Lord for help. Your reactions to those circumstances in your life will depend on whether you keep your eyes on your trouble or on your Savior God, who is always full of mercy.
The Psalmist said it well. “My soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning—Yes, more than those who watch for the morning. O Israel, hope in the Lord; for with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him is abundant redemption. And He shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.” (Psalm 130:6-8 NKJV) If it’s worth having, it’s worth waiting for.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, give me a faith like the woman had in this story! Too often I have allowed the circumstances of this life become a hindrance to my faith. Remind me that your mercies are new every morning and that in you there is abundant redemption! I ask this in your name. Amen.