Among faith’s many elements, patience must be the most important and the most demanding. This Sunday’s Gospel talks about a very different Jesus that we know, who ignored a Canaanite woman who begged for healing: “Lord, Son of David, have pity on me! My daughter is terribly troubled by a demon.” Even his disciples asked Him to send her away. Jesus said “My mission is only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” The woman persisted, and Jesus further rejected, “It is not right to take the food of the sons and daughters and throw it to the dogs.” Her great faith however showed when she said, “even dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table”. Then the Lord that we know came and answered her, “O woman, you have great faith! Your wish will come to pass. That very moment her daughter got better.” (Mt. 15: 21–28).
The woman’s persistent faith bore fruit. When our Lord seems to ignore our prayers or even adds to our frustrations, these are moments of grace for us to be more patient, more persevering. This is a time for our faith to be built and strengthened some more. In this story, Jesus’ response is still fast and instantaneous. However, there are times that God will answer much later as in the case of Abraham. It took many years before God gave him a son in his old age. While Abraham’s case was completely hopeless, he believed that God would fulfill His promises. If we hold on to God’s promises, we will receive our reward just as the Canaanite woman did, just as Abraham did.
These are inspiring and encouraging stories to those of us who have to endure long periods of waiting before we experience the fulfillment of our prayers.
Today, if you are not feeling hopeful that God’s promises will come to realization, hold on to your faith. Rely on His words “Do not then surrender your confidence; it will have great reward. You need patience to do God’s will and receive what He has promised” (Heb. 10:35 – 36).
So let us therefore come repeatedly to the Lord’s Table and pray for more patience and strength as we wait for the best to come. Not only will we be rewarded, but God will be glorified through us. Let us lift our hands and offer thanksgiving and praise to the Lord, who always keeps His promises.