Sunday, August 14, 2011

Bulldog faith

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Matthew 16:21-39

TO CHEW ON: "Then Jesus answered and said to her, 'O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.' And her daughter was healed from that very hour." Matthew 15:28

What I find curious about the little story of Jesus healing the Canaanite woman's daughter is that Jesus was in the woman's territory.  Though it seems His intention was to take a break from the crowds (Mark 7:24) it wasn't to be. When this Canaanite woman with a demon-possessed daughter heard about His presence she wouldn't let Him alone. She was loud ("...she cried out to Him..." - Matthew 15:22). She was persistent ("...she kept asking..." Mark 7:26).

Jesus demurred at her "Lord, help me" with "It is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the little dogs." Yikes! A footnote in my Bible states:

"The Jews insultingly referred to Gentiles as dogs. Even though Jesus softens the barb by using the word for house pets instead of wild, unclean scavengers, His response to the woman still sounds harsh. Actually in assuming the appearance of traditional Jewish prejudice, Jesus was drawing from her a confession of triumphant faith" - New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1363.

If she was a dog, she was a bulldog with a faith that wouldn't let go. Her quick-witted response: "Yes Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters' table," shows she held hope in an iron grip. Even Jesus was impressed, and His answer changed from "No" to "Yes" - Matthew 15:28.

We can learn things from this woman:
1. Her mother-love drove her to extraordinary lengths to see her daughter healed. Who has God put in our care of kids, grand-kids and friends for whom we plead to God? We might be the only prayer warriors in their lives. Let's let our love for them drive us to Jesus.

2. She went out of her way to find Jesus and was even willing to make a fool of herself to get His attention. Are we willing to go out of our way, disrupt our routine, even do something out of character in intercession for others?

3. She refused to take no for an answer. If Jesus' hesitation was a test, she got an A+ when she came up with a reason why He should grant her request instead of acquiescing to why He shouldn't. Do we give in to the reasons (of others or ourselves) as to why our prayers probably won't be, couldn't be, shouldn't be answered? Or do we keep asking?

Let's take this Canaanite woman as our example of persistent intercession for the people and circumstances that burden our hearts!

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for this story of tough faith. Help me to emulate this woman's persistence. Amen.

MORE: Persevering prayer
"Whatever it takes for you to own the doctrine of God's omnipotence, do it. Until you own it, you will be a faint-hearted pray-er. You'll make a few wishes on your knees, but you won't be able to persevere in prayer until you know in your heart that God is able." - Bill Hybels

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1 comment:

  1. Good post. This story used to make me depressed until I thought of the same thing you mentioned: her not taking "no" for an answer. Sort of like the "persistent widow" story. If a Canaanite woman - a Canaanite and a woman! - got away with reasoning with the Messiah, then what should hold any Christian back from any discussion with a another mere human!


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