Thursday, September 25, 2008

Faith and Persistence

“’Yes, Lord,’ she said, ‘yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table!’ Then Jesus replied to her, ‘Woman, your faith is great. Let it be done for you as you want.’ And from that moment her daughter was cured.” (Matthew 15:27-28 CSB)

What the woman wanted was for her daughter to be cured. Her daughter was demon-possessed, tormented. So, even though she was a Canaanite woman and not one of the lost sheep of Israel Jesus was searching for, when Jesus came to Sidon she heard about it. His reputation apparently preceded Him, so she went to Him and kept crying out to Him to heal her daughter. Jesus ignored her, but she kept following and crying out. The disciples grew annoyed and asked Jesus to send her away. But she kept coming. Finally, Jesus made a metaphorical statement to her, that it was not right to take the children’s bread and give it to their dogs. Jesus was not comparing the woman to a dog. He was simply using an example to show her that His priorities were for the lost people of Israel. That is when her retort impressed Jesus with regard to her faith, with the result that He cured her daughter.

This story points out a connection between persistence and faith. We do not always connect the two. We tend to keep the concept of persistence in its box, and we keep faith in its box. We tend also to think that if our faith is strong enough, there is no need for anything else, like persistence. But what we see in this story is that Jesus was impressed with this woman’s tenacious faith. This tells us that God seems to have a great appreciation for persistent asking in faith, maybe a little like the faith we see in Jacob when, wrestling with the angel of the Lord, he refused to let go until the angel blessed him.

Persistence and faith is a combination that honors God.

Lord, May our persistent asking in faith today fully honor You. Amen.

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