Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 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.”
Jesus did not answer a word.
Jesus didn’t answer. Or more accurately, he was quietly answering, “Wait. Don’t give up, but you need to wait.”
This seems so callous, but Jesus only did what he saw the Father doing — and God is never in a hurry. God always looks to the heart, and draws out the faith that is there. This woman had faith, and Jesus knew it from the beginning, but his disciples didn’t. They were waiting for the first opportunity to send this ‘dog’ away — and since Jesus didn’t answer, what a prime opportunity to send this nuisance away! But Jesus was always up to teaching his disciples a thing or two:
So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”
He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” (Is this what the disciples were secretly thinking?)
The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.
He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” (Is this, too, an echo of their thoughts?)
“Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”
BAM! Lesson objective.
Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.
I’m a teacher. I ‘beat around the bush’ many times to get my students thinking. Jesus showed the woman the power of her persistent faith. Jesus showed the disciples a greater view of faith.
And what was this faith?
Believing in the goodness of God enough to keep praying. Keep “bothering’. Keep pursuing… Already having an answer for the faith that won’t give up.
Faith withstands silence and rejection, endures ridicule.
Faith clings to the hope of God’s goodness – caring enough to follow – and pray – in the first place.
Lord, my faith is not in what you can or will do for me, but my faith is in You alone. You listen. You care. You love. In You alone is the confidence of what we hope for and the assurance of what we do not see. Because You are true and because You are good, I will follow hard after you.