Saturday, January 30, 2010

Crumbs of Faith

There’s this story in the Bible that for years I didn’t understand. It’s found in Matthew 15:21-28. It talks about this Canaanite woman who wanted Jesus’ attention. Her daughter had been suffering from demon-possession and she was desperate—who wouldn’t be? So she cries out for Jesus to have mercy on her. I am quite sure this was one of those cries that could be heard from a distance.

Despite that, Jesus doesn’t even respond. In verse 23 it says Jesus did not answer a word. So let’s stop right there and see if we can relate to this story. First you have this woman that has a great need in her life. I would have to say that the greatest needs a woman can experience are with her children. To have your own child suffering in any way is hard for any parent but forgive me men, I really do believe it hits mothers harder. This is her child…the one she carried and nurtured in her womb for months…she cannot bear to see her precious child suffering.

Of course, this could have been any desperate situation. You may be finding yourself in a desperate situation right now. It could be relationship-related, job-related, financial, and the list goes on. So she is desperate and she cries out for Jesus. I would bet just about all of us have been there—where we have cried out for the Lord to have mercy on a situation we were facing. We seek Him for answers, for help, for a resolution, or for His intervention.

But then we face silence. He doesn’t respond. We don’t hear His voice. I have to be honest even right now I am experiencing that with a particular situation in my life. I have an important decision to make about my youngest and I have to come up with the answer by Monday but no matter how much praying I have been doing, I have not heard from God.

Okay, so let’s go back to the story. This woman didn’t give up. Apparently she kept crying out for His help because eventually the disciples come to Him and say, “Hey look, this woman is driving us nuts! Would you do something about her already???!!” Well not really. You can read the story in your own Bible to get the right interpretation.

So anyway, Jesus responds to them with, “I was sent only to the lost sheep for Israel.” No sooner does he answer the disciples than here she comes and this time she kneels down before Him. She is just not ready to give up! She will chase him down and fall down before Him and get his attention! I like that kind of tenacity. She cries, “Lord, help me!”

Then He replies in what I always thought was the strangest reply and is what I never understood. “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” Her response has always been just as confusing to me. “…but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” I have read that story so many times through the years. I would always think, “Huh?”

I never really got it until recently. This is what I get from it (you might get something completely different). She was willing to accept crumbs of faith. She was willing to take the littlest morsel of faith that was available. She knew it didn’t take but a little faith and Jesus could do anything. She knew He could heal her daughter.

We are reminded in Matthew 17:20 that we may have little faith BUT…if we have faith as small as a mustard seed (those are very tiny), we can do just about anything. Sometimes we don’t have the giant faith that we would like to have. I don’t have complete confidence about the decision I have to make concerning my youngest. Yet I am willing to accept a morsel of faith, a crumb of faith and move in a direction that I believe in the end will prove nothing is impossible with God.

How does the story end for this woman? Jesus didn’t say, “What? You’re willing to take the crumbs? What kind of faith is that?” No, He said, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And guess what? That very hour her daughter was healed!

What was once a confusing story is now an inspiring one. I, like the desperate woman, am willing to settle for crumbs of faith. I will take what I can get because the way I see it is,I would rather a tiny morsel of faith than none at all. What that shows Jesus is we actually have great faith.

Not everything that happens in life is “big.” Sometimes we are too easily wrapped up in wanting to be entertained, to be “wowed,” or a part of something fantastic. We are looking for the show, the outward sign of something incredible. But sometimes it just takes small, simple faith and we will see mountains move. Don’t dismiss the crumbs. Take the crumbs of faith and watch God do miracles.

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