Updated: Apr 24
In Matthew 15:22-28 and Mark 7:24-30, a Canaanite woman chased after Jesus, begging Him to heal her daughter possessed with a devil. What did Jesus do? He ignored her.
It feels that way sometimes, like God is ignoring us.
Still, the woman begged and pestered everyone until the disciples begged Jesus to make the woman go away! Jesus finally spoke, and what strange words He seemed to say, "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
Did that deter the woman? No, she worshipped Him anyway.
Would I have worshipped if He ignored my need?
"Lord, help me," she said.
Jesus, the One I always associate as kind and caring to those who came to Him in true faith, did not respond like I would expect. "It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs."
Ouch! Yes, the Israelites tended to be very prejudice, and dogs was a common, derogatory term to refer to anyone that wasn't Jewish. But God made us all equal, didn't He? Shouldn't Jesus be the One who promotes equality and worth? If I was there, I would have struggled in this moment. (Hindsight helps me know that Jesus was proving her faith not only to herself but to everyone else.)
Despite the insult, the lady said, "Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table."
Wow, she didn't argue her worth. She accepted His terms. He said she as worthless as a dog, and she said, "Yes, I am, but even dogs eat crumbs." She agreed with His assessment and asked no more than what a literal dog could reasonably expect, crumbs. She didn't ask to dine, to be promoted to honour. She asked only for crumbs.
Finally, Jesus responds in a way I expect. "O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt."
In another sign of faith, the lady took Jesus at His Word without proof. She went home believing, and it wasn't until she got home that she found Jesus had done as He said.
Sometimes, it feels like God is ignoring us. Sometimes, God doesn't respond like we expected Him to do. Often, God expects us to believe without proof.
Of course, I know now that God was testing the woman. He tests our faith too, and when I read this story, I asked myself this sobering question.
Would my faith have held fast if I thought God was insulting me?
Image link: People Girl Alone - Free photo on Pixabay