Jesus withdraws again to get away with His disciples, this time to a non-Jewish territory.
“Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.”
A visibly distraught woman comes from seemingly out of nowhere, falling at the feet of Jesus. She knows full well the tension between the Israelites and her people. Hated enemies. She knows the Jewish people look down on her, considering her worthless. But she also knows this man who has come to town is the Messiah. So, she goes, full of faith and determination. Humiliation is nothing to her if it can save her beloved daughter.
Her anxiety level likely reaching a new height. This is her one chance. What will Jesus say? What will He do?
Jesus says nothing.
The disciples beg Jesus to send her away. Her tears and pleading likely annoying them.
Another blow to the woman as Jesus replies to the disciples, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
She won’t be deterred. With increased resolve, she kneels before Him, saying, “Lord, help me.”
I wonder if she hung her head fighting back more tears or if she locked eyes with the only One who could help her.
Jesus replies, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”
Another blow to her hope for healing. She knows exactly what He means. She has studied up on who this Messiah is. She knows He has come to save Israel first. But she has also heard rumors of His healing Gentiles in Jewish territories. She isn’t ready to give up just yet. She can’t control her cultural circumstances, but she can control her response.
“Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table,” she quickly replies.
I wonder if her reply was loud and bold or riddled with fear. Please hear me; please help me; please save my daughter, she is likely saying under her breath as she waits to see how Jesus will respond.
“O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.”
Her daughter instantly healed. He did it. She knew He would do it.
Jesus consistently rewards persistent faith. The delayed response was for her, not for Him.
God never tempts us, but He does test us. There is a difference. Tempting seeks failure. Testing seeks increased faith.
It was no accident that Jesus came to her town. He knew she would be there. He knew her story would become part of His story; part of our story.
The woman shows us how to persist when things seem to be falling apart all around us. She doesn’t give up at the first sign of resistance. She doesn’t pretend her lot is different than it is at the moment. She doesn’t let pride in a perceived dig keep her from going after what she wants. Like Jacob cried out in his testing; in his wrestling with God, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” (Genesis 32:26)
She humbly and passionately persists. She knows He can do it. She will stop at nothing to get it.
What is going on in your life now where Jesus feels silent? Where you are facing opposition? Where your circumstances feeling like a barrier to your miracle?
Press on. Ramp up your faith and your resolve. Keep praying and pleading with God. Let the “testing of your faith produce steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:3-4)
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