Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

Jesus went away from there, and withdrew into the district of Tyre and Sidon. And a Canaanite woman from that region came out and began to cry out, saying, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed.” But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came and implored Him, saying, “Send her away, because she keeps shouting at us.” But He answered and said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and began to bow down before Him, saying, “Lord, help me!” And He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” But she said, “Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus said to her, “O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed at once. Matthew 15 : 21-28 (NASB)

There are times in our lives when we need a break. I am not talking of the mere desire for holiday by a sunny beach, as nice as they are. I am referring to when you are literally burned out by a busy life. I remember one time when friends recognised my need for a break. They made all the arrangements, surprising me with a paid retreat to the Holy Island (Lindisfarne). The retreat was a memorable blessing, which rejuvenated me spiritually and physically.

In our story today we find our Lord seeking a retreat for a short time in the countryside of the North Western coast district of Tyre and Sidon. This is in present day Lebanon. The district mentioned had been Canaanite and later a Phoenician district. These ports separated by a few miles were wealthy centres of trade. As much as Jesus sought solace around this place, people followed Him (Mark 7:24). One particular woman who heard of His presence came to Him with a purpose, just as Jairus had done for his daughter. This woman’s daughter was tormented by demons and she sought her healing from Jesus. Being ignored she was persistently crying out for His attention; what an example of parental care. She seeks Him who alone can heal her child, do we pray in this manner for our children?

The disciples were aggrieved by this loud scene, after all their Rabbi wanted some quiet time. Eventually they break silence and ask Jesus to send her away, hoping for relief from her persistent requests. Sometimes God sends folk in need at the most inconvenient time for our plans, what a shame indeed! Our Lord does not dismiss her but answers the disciples loud enough to be heard by her, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” She did not give up but persisted in her request in a humble manner, bowing before Him. His refusal was not out of indifference but instead it shows His thoughtfulness, He was planning her reward. She had come in deep sorrow, displaying great faith in pursuing Him. She was to be rewarded!

“Then Jesus said to her, “O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed at once.” Could this woman have bowed any lower at this moment, she happily would have done so! Her worldy agony had been replaced by divine ecstasy, and she undoubtedly ran home to see her reward. This is another of those people who met the Messiah of whom we would love to know more.

Dear reader, we can learn much from this beautiful mother. She brought her pain to the Lord, beseeching Him to heal her daughter. Take note that she was not put off by His silence, she kept going in a spirit of utter humility. When we pray and get no response, this is not God’s refusal but His encouragement to continue seeking Him. If we pursue His provision in faith we are assured He does hear us, and will answer in His perfect time.


20 thoughts on “Encounters With The Messiah – The Canaanite Woman

  1. Persistence is something I learned while working in sales. I was trained to state the opportunity and then ask for the business. Next, deal with objections or questions, and then ask for the business AGAIN.
    The story you shared reminded me that we should have the same persistence in prayer—to truly seek the heart of God and then ask for Him to conduct business!
    God’s best to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I worked in sales as well David in a couple of jobs. I was teaching myself as I wrote this, praise God. I could almost hear Him “see how this woman does this Alan!” We all could learn a lot from this woman. Thanks for sharing brother.

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  2. I find it a noticeable “coincidence” that I read and meditated on this very story again just the other night. As I studied it I was able to pull back a few more layers to purposes of the Master’s actions. Scrutinizing scripture is a bottomless well of jewels. Thanks for this one, Alan! I have always enjoyed this particular episode.

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    1. G.W. that’s what I would call a “God-incidence” when He brings events together like that. When we put effort in as you did Father God always rewards the labour put in. God bless you brother.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Alan, I really like the song at the end of your post “One Little Crumb.” I may need to share it on my site. I think it can be challenging for people to keep praying when it seems like God isn’t responding. But, as you point out, we’ve got to remain faithful and persistent in our prayers. Sometimes, the best-answered prayers are the ones He doesn’t answer the way we asked. His will is always the best. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Rainer, thank you for reading and being generous in your comments brother. The funny thing about that song is it was the product of a random search, it was the only song that came up. I really liked it too, playing it several times. I would go as far to say that holy persistence, especially pertaining to prayer, is a virtue in my view.

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  4. Alan, your writings are anointed by the Holy Spirit. “When we pray and get no response, this is not God’s refusal but His encouragement to continue seeking Him.” That’s a truth worthy of meditating on, especially in the circumstance of praying for a lost, wayward person. Thanks for the encouragement to continue on in fervent prayer!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Manette your words truly encourage me greatly! There are times I do not have a great surge of inspiration, when writing anything is hard labour. It is then I know that my ability is weakest with words, but praise the Almighty for His Holy Spirit! I truly hope that I hide Alan’s ideas and write by His guidance. God’s silence in our prayers is not a time to worry, but a time to listen and believe. Then like the Canaanite woman ask again, repeating the process over : prayer, believe, listen, repeat. God bless you and encourage you in your petitions sister.

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