Faith

And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.” But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” And he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.” (Matthew 15:21–28, ESV)

If I am honest for years I struggled with this passage. This is most likely due to the fact that I (like most of us) have felt the sting of rejection at times, and as a result I focused more on the words Jesus said to her than her response to them. But now this is one of my favorite passages . There is a lot to glean from it. Including the fact that:

  1. Jesus came to her – The passage says “Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out” So Jesus, who was fully God (as well as fully man), and therefore would be all knowing, came to a place where she was. She was no surprise to him.
  2. Jesus said that her Faith was greatEven though Matthew uses the “great” word twenty times in his book, this is the only time that he links it with the word “faith.” Also it “is interesting that Jesus does not commend the woman’s persistence or her humility.”1 Those are things that are about her character. Jesus only complemented two people on their faith. She was one and the Roman centurion, (Matthew 8:10) was the other.  So what does great faith look like? Well:2 

*Great Faith Looks Like Self-forgetfulness – She sought Jesus at all cost, regardless of how she looked to others.

And Jesus only complemented two people on their faith. She was one and the Roman centurion, (Matthew 8:10) was the other. There are several reason he could have done so, such as:2

*Great Faith Focuses on a Higher Power – She knew that Jesus could do for her daughter what she had to power to.

*Great Faith Does Not Quit When Obstacles Interfere – Jesus tested her faith by giving her reasons to give up. But she persisted. Phillips Brooks said “Do not pray for easy lives. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks.” Never quit!

*Great Faith Wins – If you are doing what God has called you do do, you will accomplish it in his timing.

3. Jesus answered her Prayer – Jesus gave her the desire of her heart through her faith in him.

So now looking at this passage I see that she was a woman who pursued God with all her heart, and although she did struggle, she was heard, and her prayer was answered.

Not every prayer may be answered in the way that we desire, but every prayer of ours will be answered. We will not be turned away.

All verses from: The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Mt 15:21–22.

  1. Leon Morris, The Gospel according to Matthew, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: W.B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press, 1992), 405–406

2. Outline taken from LeRoy Lawson, Matthew: Unlocking the Scriptures for You, Standard Bible Studies (Cincinnati, OH: Standard, 1986), 196.

The way to victory

Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God – he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. – Hebrew 12:22 MSG

Trust God in your struggles

“And he went with him. And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’ ” And he looked around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your disease.” (Mark 5:24–35, ESV)


I’ll be honest I never really gave this story much thought when I was younger. But now, after seeing friends and family struggle with things for years I feel this woman’s pain.
Twelve years is a very long time to be struggling with a issue that “not only [left her] defiled, [but caused her to] defile anything and anyone she touched. Her illness had left her personally, socially and spiritually cut off” (WBC). And that is not to even mention the fact that the very doctors that were meant to help her caused her to suffer. And on top of all of that she suffered financial hardship as she “spent all that she had.”
Now I don’t know about you but if I were in her same situation, if I were an outcast who has done nothing wrong , who was physically ill, has been mistreated by them ones meant to help me, and if I had spent everything and still saw no relief, I might just be very angry at everyone around me including and most importantly God….and yet as tired and worn as she must have been, she noticed God enter her space and she reached out to him, Not only that but she vocalized her faith.
I do not understand why some people go through life with relative ease and why some people seem to face one challenge after another, and I get how it can make one weary and at times feel unloved. But while I do not always understand it, I do know that God is no respecter of persons. He loves you and I just as much as he loves any other person on this planet. He does not have it out for us, or is ignoring us, thought it may feel that way at times.
What I have witnessed is that the struggling has brought me into a deeper relationship with God that I would not have ever had otherwise. It forced me to get real in a way that I would never have done if everything was all sunshine and daisies. It strips off everything until all that is left is just me and God, and the hem of his robe, that I must reach for.
If you are going through a tough season, whether it has been one week, one year, or twelve, like this woman, I am so sorry for what you are going through, I have no words, because hard is hard is hard, but my encouragement is that you think on this story, She reached out and God came through. Yes, God does not always come through immediately. But, I do believe that he does not leave his children without hope, he does not leave them with out the help they need.
He loves you, you are not alone. I am praying for you!
Twelve years is a very long time to be struggling with a issue that “not only [left her] defiled, [but caused her to] defile anything and anyone she touched. Her illness had left her personally, socially and spiritually cut off” (WBC). And that is not to even mention the fact that the very doctors that were meant to help her caused her to suffer. And on top of all of that she suffered financial hardship as she “spent all that she had.”
Now I don’t know about you but if I were in her same situation, if I were an outcast who has done nothing wrong , who was physically ill, has been mistreated by them ones meant to help me, and if I had spent everything and still saw no relief, I might just be very angry at everyone around me including and most importantly God….and yet as tired and worn as she must have been, she noticed God enter her space and she reached out to him, Not only that but she vocalized her faith.
I do not understand why some people go through life with relative ease and why some people seem to face one challenge after another, and I get how it can make one weary and at times feel unloved. But while I do not always understand it, I do know that God is no respecter of persons. He loves you and I just as much as he loves any other person on this planet. He does not have it out for us, or is ignoring us, thought it may feel that way at times.
What I have witnessed is that the struggling has brought me into a deeper relationship with God that I would not have ever had otherwise. It forced me to get real in a way that I would never have done if everything was all sunshine and daisies. It strips off everything until all that is left is just me and God, and the hem of his robe, that I must reach for.
If you are going through a tough season, whether it has been one week, one year, or twelve, like this woman, I am so sorry for what you are going through, I have no words, because hard is hard is hard, but my encouragement is that you think on this story, She reached out and God came through. Yes, God does not always come through immediately. But, I do believe that he does not leave his children without hope, he does not leave them with out the help they need.
He loves you, you are not alone. I am praying for you!