How would others describe your faith? Strong? Stubborn? Simple? If you had one person from the Bible who you would emulate in faith, whom would you choose?
In Mark 7:24-30, Jesus moves into the vicinity of Tyre, a city not well-known for its faith pursuits. He entered a house and attempted to keep his visit quiet, but word still spread.
A woman with a little daughter, possessed by an impure spirit came to the house and fell at his feet. Here is a posture of desperation, a posture of worship, a posture of submission. This mother, like any parent with a sick child was intensely focused on getting help. Mark surprises us by indicating she was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. Was she a polytheist, like many in her own culture, worshiping a pantheon of gods and goddesses? Or had she found her heart empty, life void of meaning, and the help of her religion futile in addressing real needs?
Whatever the background, she begged for the help of the only One who could heal!
How does Jesus respond to her? He appears to distance himself from her request. He tests her resolve and cites a popular quote that ‘bread designed for children should not be given to dogs.’ She is not on the ‘inner track.’ Typical religious beliefs preferred Jews to Gentiles.
Regardless of the response, she would not be deterred. ‘Lord,’ she replied, ‘don’t dogs wander under the table and lick up the crumbs?’ Don’t you have just a few crumbs for me and my daughter? I’ll take whatever you decide.
This was the right response. Jesus responded to her faith, just as God promises (Hebrews 11:6) to reward anyone who diligently seeks Him. He pronounces here daughter released and sends her on her way. In faith she had come. In faith she returns home and discovers that her faith has been justified.
May our faith in Christ be strengthened this day! We may not receive the healing we do desperately seek, but even when God opts not to heal, and leaves us with our ‘thorn in the flesh,’ we’ll end up proving that His grace is sufficient! I wonder what evidence of His grace I’ll spot today in my life, ministry and family.