A Canaanite Woman’s Amazing Faith
“Then Jesus said to her, ‘O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish.’ And her daughter was healed at once.”
Dear Family & Friends,
Faith is a fundamental part of the Scripture and God’s plan for salvation. Without faith it is impossible to please God. But in and of ourselves we can’t conjure up the necessary faith to believe what God says. This is because we are dead in our trespasses and sins. Even after God, through His Spirit, ignites a spark of faith in our inner being the rest of our lives must be spent growing our capacity for even greater and more amazing faith. Even this growth comes from God, and He uses various methods to move us forward so we can clearly see Him.
Difficulties Stimulate Faith
Often in our lives, God uses difficulties, trials, and even what seems like rejections to stimulate our budding faith. Knowing we are like little children He often holds back on our deepest desires to press us forward and strengthen our faith muscles.
There have been many times when raising my babies, and now with my grandchildren, that I’ve used this method to help them learn to crawl or walk. The roly-poly little baby sees things he or she wants, but they just can’t seem to get there. So I will take a desired toy and place it in front of them but just outside of their reach.
The little guy or gal pushes and pulls their body along the floor reaching for the desired object. Sometimes I will move it just a little farther so they push on, all the while strengthening their muscles and learning how to creep. Then with great rejoicing on both of our parts, they finally grasp what they want.
My motives in this process have never been mean. They have always been to teach the child to move on their own and help them to gain strength and the feeling of accomplishment. God also allows difficult and frustrating things in our lives, in just the right doses, to grow our faith for our ultimate blessing and good.
A Story About a Canaanite Woman’s Amazing Faith
There is an interesting story in the book of Matthew that illustrates this point. After a confrontation with some Pharisees and teachers of the law, men who should have been overflowing with faith in God and His Son, Jesus left the area and withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.
These towns lay north of the Galilee beyond where Jesus had done many miracles. A Canaanite woman who had heard about Jesus’ healing powers approached Him begging for mercy. Her little daughter suffered terribly from demon-possession and she was desperate for her healing.
Jesus’ Reply to a Desperate Woman
Despite the woman’s pitiful cries for help, Jesus did not answer her immediately. His disciples, disgusted with her interruptive crying, urged Jesus to send the woman away. But Jesus did not do this. Instead, he responded to her cries with an interesting statement. “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel,” He said.
Even though this woman was a foreigner and not of Jewish descent, she pressed on to reach her goal. Kneeling before Jesus she continued to beg Him to help her. Again, Jesus moved the object of her desire a little further away with another seemingly strange comment. “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
Not to be deterred, the woman humbly answered back, “Yes, it is Lord. Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the master’s table.” In her mind even the crumbs would be powerful enough to grant the desires of her heart.
A Request Granted
I can imagine how Jesus’ joy in this woman’s persistent and amazing faith, especially in comparison to the unbelief of those who should have known better, thrilled His heart and gave Him deep pleasure. I am sure it surpassed the excitement I would get when my baby would finally grasp his desired object. He praised her and offered her even more than the crumbs she was willing to take. “Woman, you have great faith,” He said, “Your request is granted!”
Trusting God At All Times
I don’t know about you, but I desire to give God pleasure in the same way this Canaanite woman did. But without faith it is impossible. Thankfully, God knows our frailties and gently puts things in our lives to draw us forward.
So when you feel as if God has not heard your prayers or you are confused by the seeming lack of response, keep reaching. He has not turned you away but is using your present situation to expand your capacity for even more amazing faith! If you press on, your faith will be strengthened and soon you and He will rejoice together.