THE FAITH OF THE CAANANITE WOMAN
“But she came and knelt before him, saying, ‘Lord, help me.’” – Matthew 15:25 (ESV)
I remember the first time that I watched the movie John Q. I was moved as Denzel Washington’s character (John Q.) goes to extreme lengths to ensure that his son gets the heart transplant he needs to continue living. Much like John Q, the Canaanite woman was willing to make a major scene and did not care what anyone else thought about her actions. She was so desperate that she was willing to do whatever it took to see her daughter’s health restored.
At first, it appears that Jesus ignores the woman’s call for help, and the disciples’ response to her persistence is asking that she be sent away. Then, Jesus says, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel,’ a response that is not altogether out of the norm for Jesus (for example, Matt. 10:6). This does not deter her. ‘Lord, help me.’ What Jesus says next is a bit more shocking, ‘It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.’ Strong words, which could throw even the stoutest of hearts off the scent! But not this Canaanite mother, who appeals, ‘Yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.’ Matthew then tells us that Jesus answers ‘O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.’
Persistence is a characteristic of people who are desperate. How will we respond to the persistence of others? Will we, like the disciples, seek to send them away (because God has seemingly not responded)? Or will we affirm the power of their faith?
Practical Application: This week consciously affirm those who are trusting and believing God for difficult and even impossible things in their life. Pray with them and for them until you see a breakthrough.