Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Lent: Canaanite woman

Matthew 15:22-28
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Wouldn't it have been easier and faster for Jesus to simply respond to the Canaanite woman right away? This interchange makes me think of a child saying, "Mom. Mom. Mom! Mom. Mom!" until the mother finally responds. The woman was persistent and her efforts paid off, but why didn't Jesus simply respond to her first call? Perhaps His resources, as a human on earth, truly were not unlimited and He had an obligation to fulfill His mission even though it meant millions of other sufferers were not able to receive help from Him directly. Nor did the woman argue against the appropriateness of His ministry being solely to the Israelites nor His labeling of her people as dogs. She simply pointed out that the children of Israel didn't take advantage of every miracle Christ had to offer, so her receiving one would not mean He had any less to give to those He was ministering to.
Jesus gives the woman what she wants because she has the faith to pursue Him as she asks for her miracle. She doesn't back down when He walks away from her, and she doesn't back down when He initially refuses her request. It's frustrating when God doesn't answer our prayers immediately, yet forcing us to persist in prayer can build up our faith. Sometimes we have to earnestly desire the answer and pursue Him to receive what we want. Whether our request is for greater holiness, a healing like this woman sought, or something else, it takes greater faith to pursue a delayed answer than to receive an immediate reply. And perhaps that is why God does delay: not because we're "dogs", nor because He's not willing to give us what we're asking for, but so we will grow in faith in believing that He can produce the miracle we seek even though we don't immediately see the evidence of Him doing so.

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