“A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to Him, crying out, ‘Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.’” Matthew 15: 22
Faith is defined as confidence or trust in a person or entity. To have confidence is to have full trust, belief in the powers, trustworthiness, or reliability of a person or thing. To trust is the reliance on the integrity, strength, ability surety etc of a person or thing.
Full trust. Reliance. Faith is an all-important aspect of the Christian walk. It is not enough to know about Christ and Scripture; we need to have full trust and belief in the Lord’s powers. We need to have reliance on His integrity, strength and ability.
We have one example of true faith in Matthew 15:21-28. A Canaanite woman presented herself to Jesus and begged him to have mercy on her and heal her demon-possessed daughter. The Lord did not speak. Puzzled by his silence, His disciples came to Him and asked Him to send her away because she was also crying out to them. The disciples were showing no compassion or sensitivity to the woman’s needs. She was becoming a nuisance, a bother. Taking all of this in, Jesus finally spoke and what he said is at first confusing: He told the woman that he was sent only to the sheep of Israel, meaning the Jews.
The Canaanite woman did not let this statement dissuade her from her mission. She continued to plead to Jesus for help, to which He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” (v. 26)
It would seem the Lord was rejecting this woman because she was not a Jew. The woman could have turned away angry, discouraged and bitter from the Lord’s silence and seeming disregard. Instead, she replied, “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table” (v. 27). She was willing to be considered a dog as long as she could receive God’s blessings for her daughter.
‘Then Jesus answered, ‘Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.’ And her daughter was healed from that very hour.” (v. 28)
The Canaanite woman exhibited the traits we should all have, unshakeable faith and persistence. Even when it seems the Lord is ignoring our supplications or rejecting them, we cannot allow our faith to be shattered. In the face of apparent rejection, the Canaanite woman persisted. She not only knew who Christ was but had full trust and belief in His powers and integrity. There was no doubt in her heart and she was rewarded for her faith, just as we will be rewarded for our full trust and reliance. Conversely, the disciples were shown that God’s message is for everyone and that one shouldn’t become so occupied with spiritual matters that the needs of others are missed.
Don’t become discouraged and bitter when it seems the Lord has turned away. Keep the faith and be persistent. By the same token, don’t ignore the very real needs of those around you because you will be inconvenienced. Pass the test of the Canaanite woman!
May the Lord be with you today.