dog begging at tableThe NT in a Year reading for the day has us in Matthew 15, where Jesus, so focused on His mission to Israel, denied a Canaanite woman His attention until she persistently pleaded with Him using His own words to show her humility and her faith.

24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25 But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” 26 He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” 27 She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” 28 Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly. (Matthew 15:24-28, NRSV)

I can imagine someone of this age, maybe even me, responding, “Who are you calling ‘dog,’ Mister?” and storming away in anger and disappointment.  Or maybe even after hearing the Lord say, “Let it be done for you as you wish,” one might somehow mess it up with thoughts of doubt like, “Oh, this will never work!” or, “He didn’t even stop to talk to me.  Surely my daughter will die.”  The fate of the child of one so embittered would be much different than in the case of this Gentile woman.  She displayed three characteristics that I want to ensure are part my prayer life: humility, persistence, and faith.

This chapter is also home to the feeding of the four thousand.  This is on the heels of the miracle of the feeding of five thousand with even fewer resources, but the disciples still doubtfully whined, “Where are we to get enough bread in the desert to feed so great a crowd?” (v. 33)   It is a comfort, though convicting, to know that I am not the only one who can witness a great miracle of God, be moved in my spirit even to tears, and be thrilled with the magnificence of Jesus in one setting, and then before the shadow of the miracle has even set, begin to doubt Him in my next need.  Oh, to be like the Canaanite woman rather than the doubting disciple!

Dear Father, today, keep me looking for the miraculous in my routine.  You, who feed the sparrows will not neglect Your child.  Help me to know, no matter how big a crowd gathers against me, how big a need there is, how inept I may feel for the task at hand, and how overwhelming my circumstances may be, that You are able to manage it all and You will provide.  God, thank You for being a bountiful, almighty God.  Forgive my unbelief and strengthen my faith, precious Jesus!  Amen.

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