“But Jesus gave her no reply, not even a word. Then his disciples urged him to send her away. “Tell her to go away,” they said. “She is bothering us with all her begging.” Matthew 15: 23 (NLT)
Have you ever felt like the Canaanite woman who cried out to Jesus on behalf of her daughter? “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is possessed by a demon who torments her severely!” Matthew 15:22 (NLT) She cried. She pleaded. She was frightened and desperate to find help for her daughter. Making it worse, those around her tried to silence and dismiss her.
The Bible says, “But Jesus gave her no reply, not even a word.”
How many times have we prayed and asked, even beseeched God for something we want or need, and like the Gentile woman of Canaan, Jesus is silent? Have there been times when friends or family members have caused you to doubt that God is listening or cares?
I remember a time I cried out to Jesus, and He was silent. My husband and I agreed that I needed to return to the work force after a brief break situating our four young children in school. Before my break, I had enjoyed a successful career in medical sales. Armed with confidence and a packed resume, I set out to return to the field that I knew and loved.
You can imagine my surprise when interview after interview produced zero offers. Two or three times I was in the final round but lost the job to another qualified person. Weeks turned into months and still no job.
I cried out to Jesus. I repented. I humbled myself. I asked God if I was being punished. I began to panic because I knew my husband was counting on me to help with our household expenses. In the past, my medical jobs provided our family’s health insurance.
Jesus “gave me no reply, not even a word.”
Finally, I surrendered. I acknowledged that while I did not understand what or why this was happening, I would trust Him. I thanked Him. He knew our situation, and if I was not getting a job, there was a reason. I thanked Him for taking care of our family as He always had.
A short time later, I received a call from my sister in Florida announcing the news that our father was in the hospital. I left for Florida later that day. As it turns out, he was diagnosed with cancer, and the prognosis was not good. For the next eight months, I traveled back and forth between Virginia and Florida so I could spend time with my father and help my mother.
I understood the reason I could not find a job. If I had accepted a new position, I could not have taken so much time off. I was and am eternally grateful that I was unemployed at the time and available to spend so much time with my father. It was an amazing gift, and while those were some of the most difficult eight months, they were also some of the most fulfilling. Our family comforted and supported each other as we said goodbye to a most wonderful man. Jesus was working the entire time. I just did not realize.
When the Canaanite woman did not get a response from Jesus, she did not give up. She had faith. The Bible says she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!”
He not only healed her daughter, but He praised her for faith, “O woman, great is your faith!” Matthew 15:28 (NKJV)
God hears our prayers. He loves us, and while His ways are not our ways, He is to be worshiped and trusted. We must keep the faith even when He is silent.
Copyright © 2017 Anne Ferrell Tata. Used by permission.