Monday, May 12, 2008

persistence or annoyance?

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 suffering terribly from demon-possession."

Jesus did not answer a word. 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."

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 their dogs."

"Yes, Lord," she said, "but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table."

Then Jesus answered, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted." And her daughter was healed from that very hour. {Matthew 15:21-28}

Yesterday at church, we heard a great sermon based on the above passage. With it being Mothers’ Day, the main point of Brad’s lesson was that this mother loved her daughter enough to beg Jesus, with persistence, to heal her demon possession. However, since I am not yet a mother, I benefitted more from another point that Brad made.

It seems odd that Jesus would ignore this woman. When we read this passage yesterday, I was confused because it almost seems like Jesus is annoyed with her, and he doesn’t want to have anything to do with her because she is a Canaanite. Of course this doesn’t seem like the Jesus we know, right? Why did he act that way? Why, when she was begging him to help her, did it seem like he didn’t even hear her in the beginning? Wasn’t he listening? And when he did acknowledge her, it seemed at first like his answer would be “no”. Notice the last statement he gives her: “Woman, you have great faith…” Her faith was strengthened in this short little passage. When it seemed like Jesus wouldn’t give her the time of day, she had faith that if she asked, he would answer. And she had the persistence to act on that faith.

Why, when I am begging Jesus to help me, does it seem like he doesn’t even hear me? Isn’t he listening? Oftentimes when I pray for something, I ask these questions. I then have to remind myself {rather, force myself to remember} that God is in control {Romans 8:28}, and he is strengthening my faith through my prayer life. He will answer my prayers eventually. It may or may not be in the way I want them answered {in this particular story, the Canaanite woman got exactly what she wanted} but he is listening & he is not ignoring me.

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