Asking, trusting in God’s mercy

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. (Matthew 15:21-28)

What in the faith of that woman was great? I asked myself that question many times. I don’t know if I have the answer, but there is something she had that is indeed great: she knew that she was unworthy, and she came to receive mercy, trusting in God’s faithfulness.

She came calling Jesus Lord and Son of David. She acknowledged His power and His compassion, basically telling Him: “You have the power and the good will to help me so I cry for mercy.” When Jesus rejected her at first, she answered by asking for help. Then He called her “dog” and she said: “Yes, I am a dog, but I am your dog so I am expecting your mercy.” She never doubted of God’s goodness.

Generally, we don’t persevere as she did. When God seemed to push us away, we are desperate and it becomes difficult to pray, or at least to pray for that specific thing we want so much. Or we are frustrated as if God owes us something.  Faith believes that God has the power to do anything and rests on His mercy to ask Him again and again, trusting that His mercy will never fail.

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)

Whatever you want

And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?” Mark 10:35-36

And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:42-45

When James and John asked the Lord to do for them whatever they wanted, He did not say: “How dare you?” He was wiling to do whatever they asked for. And when they told Him what they wanted, He did not get upset. He did not even tell them that they were arrogant.  He did not question their motivations. The Lord has nothing against spiritual ambition. He has nothing against our requests. We can ask again and again and He will be willing to bless us. He is the one who said:  “Ask, and it will be given to you” (Matthew 7:7 ).

However, as with John and James, He will tell us the cost of what we ask for, the cup we ought to drink before being granting the desire of our heart. Whatever you are asking the Lord at this moment, it comes with a cost: the cost of being a slave. To be a slave is not easy. A slave has no right, no dream. His only purpose is to obey his master. A slave has no dignity. He is willingly humble or he is humiliated. A slave owns nothing, but he owes his master everything.

Are you praying to get married: are you ready to be your spouse’s slave? Are you praying for that promotion, that new house: are you ready to be your boss, your neighbours’ slave? Being a slave is not easy. It demands a lot of humility: more than we are willing to have. But humility will always be the key to get everything from God, even  the most important: Himself (Isaiah 57:15). So let’s fight for it.

No more crumbs

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. Matthew 15:21-28

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Romans 8:31-31

What is faith? Is it to be ready to accept crumbs from God or to expect all things from Him?
When we say to God that we are ready to accept crumbs from Him, are we not telling Him that our faith in His goodness is low? We believe actually that God will treat us as He will do with outsiders. It may look like humility, but we are questioning God’s goodness.
Psalm 34:8 says:”Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Which good shepherd will give crumbs to his sheep. Which good father will give leftover to his child? (Matthew 7:9-11)
God has already given us more than His best. He gave His only son so that we can have all He has decided to give to us. In Christ-Jesus, God pours on us all He has promised (2 Corinthians 1:20).
So are we to become arrogant and be demanding? No. God owes us nothing (Job 41:11). However He is willing to give us all things (1 Corinthians 3:21).
All we have to do is to ask and we will receive (Matthew 7:7-8). If you are waiting for God’s crumbs, not sure you will receive something, unless you are not a child. God has made it clear: crumbs are for the dog and bread is for children.
And when we understand that we can expect only the best from God, then we can only expect the best from life. We will therefore stop accepting all the crumbs Satan put on our way to tempt us. We will say no for we are children of the King and we will inherit heaven.