[Jesus] answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”
Persistent in Prayer
There are sunflowers in my backyard. It’s fascinating to look at the faces of those sunflowers at different parts of the day and see them always facing the sun. They are unwavering in their devotion to the sun because its warm rays give them life.
Similarly, the Canaanite woman who came to Jesus for help showed relentless determination. Despite the initial silence and then receiving a response from Jesus that might have discouraged others, she did not falter. She knelt before him, pleading, “Lord, help me!” Her faith remained unwavering, like the sunflower’s unwavering pursuit of the sun.
Jesus’ reply, referring to the Canaanites as dogs, may appear harsh on the surface. However, the woman’s response revealed the depth of her faith. She willingly accepted her humble position, comparing herself to a dog waiting for the crumbs that fall from the master’s table.
Her response not only showcased her humility but also highlighted her unwavering belief in Jesus’ ability to provide the smallest measure of his grace. She reasoned that even the lowest place in God’s kingdom is better than any position outside of it.
This encounter reminds us that persistence in prayer is not about demanding or manipulating God but rather about aligning our hearts with his will and trusting in his timing. It is about remaining steadfast in our pursuit of his mercy, even when faced with challenges of apparent silence.
God will not be silent to us forever. Why? Because Jesus endured the silence of the Father on the cross in our place. Jesus cried out to God, and he received no answer. Jesus endured the damnation that our sins deserved. The Father treated Jesus worse than a dog.
Jesus endured this not so that his believers would be dogs in his kingdom but that they would be his coheirs, sons, and daughters of God. Keep your face turned toward Jesus, who gives true life.
Dear Jesus, help me to be persistent in prayer and faith even in the face of challenges and silence. Amen.