As I read Matthew 15:22-28, one of the things I noticed was how Jesus does not respond to the Gentile woman desperately crying out to Him. Here is someone, who should not even be in the presence of Jews, crying out to Jesus, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! For my daughter is possessed by a demon that torments her severely” (v. 22). All she wanted was for her daughter to be well, to be healed and Jesus “gave her no reply, not even a word” (v. 23).
What grabbed my heart was how this woman was ignored, but she just kept at it. She wasn’t offended, she didn’t catch an attitude, she wasn’t ashamed, afraid, discouraged, defeated, worried, hurt... she wasn’t any of those things. She was persistent.
The disciples might have taken Jesus’ silence as a prompt that she was a nuisance because they told Jesus to get rid of her, “Tell her to go away, she is bothering us with all her begging” (v. 23b). WOW! How often have I been bothered by someone needing attention, just wanting an ear to listen, some help or a healing for Jesus; and I feel like they are bothering “us” (Jesus and me) with the same ole’ cries? (A wretch I am...Abba Father, forgive me.)
Then, the answer Jesus turns to give segregates her even further, “I was sent only to help God’s lost sheep - the people of Israel.” (v. 24) She doesn’t give up.
“But she came and worshiped him, pleading again, “Lord, help me!” (v. 25)
I wander if this woman is even saved? Yet, she worships the Lord and pleads with Him. My curiosity got the best of me and I looked up "worshiped" in the concordance. It is an active verb, describing a people who “fall upon the knees and touch the ground with the forehead as an expression of profound reverence. To bow down..." I can just imagine, maybe because I have found myself to be in such a desperate state before, this woman passionately, actively throwing herself at the feet of Jesus, in worship, pleading with Him to help her.
My LORD, You never tire of us actively coming after you in worship and pleading with You. Holy is Your Name!
Again, it appears that Jesus resists, “It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs” (v. 26). She is not moved.
“That’s true, Lord, but even dogs are allowed to eat the scraps that fall beneath their master’s table” (v. 27).
Oh my Baby Jesus! My heart is swelling... according to most women I know, this woman should have been offended by now. Insulted, hurt, ashamed... she was none of those things. My spirit is screaming, "How many times has shame or offense turned me away from You Lord?!?"
Have you ever mistaken the Lord’s silence for a “No” or a “Wait”? What if He is simply saying, “Come closer. Don’t give up. Worship after Me. Keep at it!”
I'm seeing how God will examine exactly how much faith I have to keep at it. How much faith do I have not to become offended or hurt or ashamed because I don’t get an answer right away, or receive a healing right away. Will I turn away, or will I turn toward Him in worship; no matter what His response?
I am remembering as I sit here, walking through my community around the golf course one evening a couple of years ago and I cried out to God, “Please take this darkness off of me. Please take it off, it is so heavy!” I heard so clearly in my soul, “Not yet. It’s not time. If I take it now, you will go right back to your ways.”
I was devastated. I could have easily given in, been hurt, offended and turned away, thinking I would fix it myself. Praise God I didn’t. It was nothing but His power in me that kept me after Him; kept me on my face in repentance and in desperate need of His healing touch.
In v. 28 Jesus says to her, “ ‘Dear woman, your faith is great. Your request is granted.’ And her daughter was instantly healed.”
A woman Jesus isn’t even supposed to speak to because of her race, He calls “Dear”.
A request a woman was in no position to make, Jesus answers because of her great faith.
May your faith become genuine and keep you after the only One who can heal you.