Summary: Learn to persevere in prayer - "pull" by the hope we have in Christ, and keep up the "push" in faith.
How do you normally approach God? Do we come to Him with determination and passion? Or as someone whom we turn to only when it’s convenient? To drop Him a line only when we can?
The way we approach Him reveals a lot about ourselves – do I really need Him? How much do I really depend on Him? Do I actually trust Him? Is He really indispensable in my life or not?
This awareness – that we need Him – ought to be there in our life! All the time!
• Sadly this is not the case, most of the time. That’s why God allows things to happen in our lives that would shake us up our sloppiness, from our lethargy and get us back to Himself.
• Sometimes we need to come to the end of our own road to find Christ there, to realize how much we have neglected Him, or ignored Him.
This woman showed us the way we ought to approach God:
1. Pull by Hope - CLING onto the HOPE we have in Jesus
2. Push by Faith - PERSIST in FAITH no matter what
CLING ONTO THE HOPE WE HAVE IN JESUS
There is always hope in God. In Christ, we have an endless hope.
What drives this woman – hope! She saw in Jesus a hope – that her daughter could be healed.
In fact, Jesus was her only hope. Who else can get a demon out of her daughter?
It was a chance of a lifetime. This was the only time Jesus went out of Palestine, and into a Gentile vicinity of Tyre (and Sidon, according to Matthew). To rest from persistent questioning by Pharisees?
• It was very difficult for her – she was not a Jew, a Gentile. No one in that place would trust Jesus.
• Yet she came publicly begging Jesus – without shame or any other considerations.
• Jesus was her only hope – she came crying out, pouring her heart out for her daughter!
The shocker comes - Matthew tells us more – Jesus did not answer a word (Matt 15:23)
• She faced utter disappointment – Jesus apparently walked on.
• The disciples found her a nuisance and asked Jesus to “send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” (Matt 15:23)
• Mark this - here was a praying mother, and a silent Jesus.
Do you find yourself here? We prayed and there was total silence from His side.
• The disciples even find her a nuisance – can you imagine, a crying mom pleading for help.
• Where is the compassion? Where is their faith in their master? Don’t they believe that Jesus can do something? Apparently not!
Now, why did Matthew tells us this shameful detail?
• To tell us that they were wrong! The woman did right. She persisted. She persevered.
• Jesus indeed had compassion and did eventually grant her request.
Look at Jesus’ response – “It’s not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” (Mark 7:27) – in God’s scheme of things, the Jews are the ones that must hear the Gospel first.
And she said, “Yes Lord, but even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” (v.28)
• Yes, I cannot get a full meal – I am not demanding a proper meal – even dogs get something out of the crumbs on the floor!
• I know I don’t really deserve it – I’m pleading for mercy, for your grace.
• She may not understand everything, but she believes that Jesus is merciful and compassionate enough to help her.
• Even those little crumbs – I would be satisfied. Do that little for me!
Jesus responded: “For such a reply…” (v.29) Matthew: “Woman, you have great faith!” (Mt 15:28)
SO SHE WAS RIGHT, AND THE DISCIPLES WERE WRONG.
• She did not give up. She pressed on, believing that Jesus could and would help her.
• All her hopes were on this man Jesus, and He was able, she knew He was able…
• This hope kept her coming. We give up because we lost hope.
That’s prayer - “Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance, but laying hold of His willingness.” (Philip Brooks)
What keeps us going – hope in God – hope in a good God!
"There are no hopeless situations; there are only men who have grown hopeless about them."
A group of scientists put some rats in a tank of water, and observed them to see how long they would survive before drowning. The average time was 17 minutes.
Then, they repeated the experiment, but this time they let in a piece of wood and "rescued" the rats just before the point of drowning, dried them off, put them back into their cages and fed them. After a few days, they were put through the experiment. This time, the average survival time for these rats increased tremendously.