In Matthew 15, there is an incredible story about a woman who cried out to Jesus, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed” (v22).
She cried out to the Son of God, but what’s incredible is this: Jesus ignored her. Verse 23 says: “But he answered her not a word.” Can you imagine Jesus not answering this child of God’s plea of help? Can you imagine him just ignoring her?
But, the story doesn’t stop there. After that, the disciples wanted him to send her away. And he answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (v24). Now, the Son of God was refusing to help her because she was a different race. She was not Jewish.
Even after this obvious refusal, the woman persisted. She came and worshiped him, saying, “Lord, help me!” (verse 25). You would think that after crying out for mercy and worshiping Jesus, she would finally get a response. Now, Jesus insults her: “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs” (v26).
First, he ignored her. Then, he refused her. Now, he insults her. If Jesus were to ignore you and then refuse you, would you continue praying to him? What if he insults you and refers to you as a dog? Would you continue reaching out to Jesus?
This woman would not give up. Even after being ignored, refused and insulted, she pressed in and persisted in her dialogue with the Lord. She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table” (v27).
She knew Jesus had the power to touch and heal her child. She was going to continue seeking him for answers no matter what he said or did. All she wanted was a crumb, knowing that a crumb of his power could heal and restore. By faith, she persisted in seeking the Lord.
Finally, Jesus rewarded her: “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.”
Why did Jesus ignore and refuse her? Why did he stand away and seem so uninterested? Was it because he didn’t care? No. He wanted her to press in. He wanted to test her faith. He wanted to see if she really believed him. Her persistence paid off. “Great is your faith!” exclaimed the Lord. How great is your faith?
Have you prayed to the Lord for peace? For freedom? For healing? Have you been ignored, refused or answered with nothing but painful silence? Did you give up pursuing his mercy? Did you give up pursuing the crumbs from Master’s table?
Today, I encourage you to press in with prayer. Be persistent in your quest for Jesus to touch you. If he is silent, don’t stop. If he is painfully convicting, continue to press in. Jesus desires to touch you and free you. He’s just waiting for you to persist in faith.
Prayer: Father, forgive me for giving in the past so easily. Help me to persevere in faith, knowing you will reach down from heaven and touch my heart.