I attended the Celebration of Life service today for a precious woman I knew. This person loved God, prayed for family and friends and had great faith. Her pastor developed his comments around the topic of “Great Faith” and referenced an instance in the Bible when Jesus proclaimed that an individual had great faith. His sermon was mainly on the Canaanite woman who begged Jesus to heal her daughter. I hadn’t contemplated before today but now realize that this woman believed strongly that Jesus would do something but had a cultural concern to bring before Him. At first He was silent. As the woman kept pressing in and saying, “Lord, help me!”, Jesus recognized her faith in Him and granted her request.
Matthew 15:21-28King James Version (KJV)
21 Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.
22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.
23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.
24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.
26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.
27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.
28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.
I have thought of the great faith of the Canaanite woman today and want to share how her story merged with my lens on the world, the day after the 2017 Inauguration of the President of the United States.
Jesus was taking a break and headed into an area of land to get a break but this Canaanite woman needed a miracle. She needed Him. She asked and He provided. She was asking on behalf of her child and was determined to not give up until He helped her. She thoughtfully considered her words to Him because she was not a Jewish woman and was, instead, a Gentile, or a non-Jewish person. She must have heard that Jesus had been conversing with the Jewish priests in the previous days. She began talking about the fact that He was Jewish and she was not. I imagine that she may not have known if He would help someone who was not from His earthly Jewish heritage.
What I love about her story is twofold: one is that she came to Jesus with a real concern for her child and that she let Him know that she believed that He could help her even though she didn’t fit the mold of the people to whom He had been speaking. She wondered if He would only help people with His Jewish heritage. He knew she was sincere and that her child needed a miracle. He told her that she had “great faith” and that her child was healed from that moment onward.
Does Jesus see the condition of our world today? I believe He does. He sees the world He made, the people, the division, the irritation and the turmoil. He cares about our situation and is sovereign over it.
Does He recognize great faith in today’s world? I believe He does. The question then becomes, “Will people recognize their need for Him and pray having great faith?”
If the Canaanite woman had “great faith” to not only talk to Jesus but to be so honest as to reveal her concern over their cultures, can we do the same today? I see such enormous division in my country over opinions about our new president and his agenda. I know that God sees and has allowed this president to be our leader. I, like the Canaanite woman, have decided to keep bringing my concerns to Jesus in prayer. I believe that He hears and will provide exactly what our country needs. I hear so many opinions and am glad that people have them, but ultimately, change came to the Canaanite woman, when she went to the Source, Jesus Himself. God made humans and gave them free will to choose Him or not. I wish there was more prayer going up instead of the immense complaining in the media and on social media. I believe He will see the “great faith” of His children and be moved to answer our prayers. We can take our issues to Jesus, lay them out, name them all then ask Him to help. If He helped the Canaanite woman, He will help those with great faith in Him today.
He healed that woman’s child. He was glad the woman didn’t hide her concern over the cultural difference in Him and her. She was so real. So was He. She was desperate and needed a healing touch for her daughter. I am desperate for Him to heal our land.
He will heal our land. I would rather not rant and complain about all that is wrong, but I am not naive. There are real issues that exist which need to be treated with respect by all people including governmental leaders. God showed me today that the Canaanite woman came to Him with real concerns and with a request that I share with her. She said to Him,”Lord, help me!” And now, I join her and request to Him, “Lord, help me, my family, my friends, my community, my state, my country, my president and this world!” I know that He will see “great faith” in those who are willing to ask Him and wait on Him to provide.
I love that the pastor who spoke at the Celebration of Life refered not only to the Canaanite woman as one of great faith but also to our friend who has gone to heaven as a woman of great faith. What an honor to be in the ranks of those with great faith! Our friend set an example that has inspired me to be consistent in prayer and in having great faith in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.