The story of the Canaanite woman in Matthew 15 tells of a mother so desperate to have her demon-possessed daughter healed that she badgers Jesus and the disciples. The first time, she asks for mercy and to have her daughter healed, but Jesus does not respond. Rejecting His silence, she follows Him and the disciples and continues to cry out to Him. The disciples are annoyed by her presence. And Jesus says to her “it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs” – He was telling her that His purpose there, at that time, was not her (the dog). And yet, she was undeterred. She responded, “Yes it is, Lord, even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” Jesus then said, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed.
That woman was not put off by the silence of Jesus, or even His seeming dismissal – she pushed forward because she had Faith that Jesus would heal her daughter. Her Faith held true.
This story illustrates the importance of Prayer and Faith. Sometimes our prayers are met with silence, which can be worse than hearing “no”. Sometimes our prayers are answered with the answer we did not want to hear and sometimes our prayers are answered exactly how we had prayed they would be. There’s no “secret sauce” to this but there are reasons for the differing outcomes. I’m sure we can all attest to waiting on a prayer to be answered (or ignoring the answers we don’t want to hear).
Consider the following:
- God may be better glorified Answering your prayer right now may not allow for your testimony to reach lost people.
- He’s our Father, not our Mother. A dad will be more inclined to let you figure something out on your own than do it for you (like a mum usually does). God’s silence can sometimes be more of a, “I’m going to let you grow (up) a little and let you work through this on your own.” And, lucky for us, He has left us with a survival handbook to use as a reference point!
- He wants to bless us. God is a loving God and He wants to bless us. Remember this when you are feeling hard done by or feeling that God is not listening to you. He is and He knows our days until the end of time.
- Sometimes He is testing our Faith. The Canaanite woman is a good example of this – she did not let the disciples’ disapproval or Jesus’ silence sway her Faith. She knew He could heal her daughter and did not stop believing.
Prayer can be shared or solitary but it should be at the starting point of all decisions, actions and thoughts. Prayer builds Faith and allows God to speak directly into your life. If you were thirsty you wouldn’t sit in a sandpit – you would seek out water. If you are sitting in a place of pain it is unlikely you will find respite by staying there. Move to the source of healing by praying and spending time in God’s word. And don’t give up. God has never given up on us. Take comfort in knowing God’s love and have Faith like crumbs.