Hebrews 11:1 tell us that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” That is God’s definition. Let us now look to His word for a model of Faith in action.
This model is unique for a number of reasons:
- The Model is female.
- She is not Jewish.
- As a Canaanite she was considered a Gentile, an outsider to be despised and to be avoided according to religious custom.
The story is recorded in Matthew 15:21-28:
“And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.” But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” And he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.”
Her prayer was answered for three reasons:
- She persisted.
- She was humble.
- She understood Jesus’ authority.
In this short exchange the Canaanite woman managed to refocus, redirect Jesus’ priorities on her request, even although Jesus specifically said to her that He was only to look after the lost sheep of Israel – the Jews. But she prevailed – why? Jesus tells us ”O woman, great is your faith!”
Yes, it was her Faith which saw her through. Faith in “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” which she bountifully demonstrated to Jesus.
What can we learn from this? Simply this, Jesus listens to earnest and heart-felt requests even although they are not in His timing or in His immediate focus. This is a key principle to effective intercession.
Amen and Amen.