Matthew 15:21-28 - The Faith of the Canaanite Woman
Upon reading this chapter, I had many immediate thoughts, but the one passage that stood out for me on this day was the story of the woman who came to see Jesus because she hears he is the Messiah and she believes he can heal her daughter. However, the exchange between the Mother and Jesus seemed so confusing to me because we all have this vision of Jesus listening and then our hope is for him to answer our prayers. Here, she cries out to him and he does not answer and he seems cold and distant, and in fact, his disciples urge him to send her away.
"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." Matthew 15:22 - 23
As a Mother myself, raising two very different children with great challenges, I was moved by her desperate desire to have her daughter healed as I recalled the many, many times I cried out in angst and desperation to try to find the help for my children that was needed. I often times felt as if I kept hitting stumbling blocks or dead ends and no matter how much I prayed for direction or solutions, I found myself persisting and crying out to God because I just could not believe he wasn't listening even though it appeared as nothing was working. This woman's tenacity was unrelenting as she continued to beg him as I felt I had done.
"The woman came and knelt before him, "Lord, help me!" she said." Matthew 15:25
I could relate to this woman. She was not going to give up. I felt her pain as she was imploring Jesus to help her as I too felt this many times over the years. I wonder if his apparent attempt to put her off was a test of her faith. We are taught to believe God's mercy is a stronger force than even the worst suffering, and when you look for that mercy, you usually can find it because God promises to be close to us during our worst bouts of suffering.
My experience of wanting to save my children from any life altering challenges did cause me great suffering and heartbreak and no matter how heartbroken we feel, I am reminded that he himself experienced what a broken heart felt like as he endured deep suffering first hand. He wants nothing more than to be close to us and provide deep unconditional love, so when I struggle in my deepest fears and don't feel his presence, I pray for God to make his Spirit known to me.
Asking for mercy over and over takes courage and faith, and faith requires endurance and endurance requires confidence. Having confidence in Jesus is easier some days over others and despite being told that great faith brings great rewards, it's during difficult times when we are tested the most. The woman continues to press Jesus and he then answers "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted". Matthew 15:28